by Hazel Bridges, agingwellness.org
According to the University of Pennsylvania, a caregiver is defined as a ‘person who attends to the needs of a dependent child or adult.’ Caregivers manage the physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs of another person, all while managing their own life, needs, family, and career.
Their responsibilities include:
- Being a point-of-contact for emergency situations.
- Organize in-home care.
- Help organize finances and pay bills.
- Communicate with other friends and family.
- Be an advocate for proper medical care.
- Setting up a comfortable and safe living situation.
- Being there emotionally for a loved one.
Basically, a caregiver helps evaluate a loved one’s needs and finds ways to make sure those needs are met. When it comes to long-distance caregiving, sometimes it requires a bit of help.
If the caregiver lives an hour or more away from the person they are helping, it is considered long-distance caregiving (or caretaking). Typically, children, grandchildren, or other close family members take on this responsibility. However, anyone no matter gender, income, employment, or age can be a caregiver. The responsibility comes with many difficulties, which are only compounded when you factor in the complications from doing things long-distance.
Letting technology and other professionals help you out is your best course of action. Online businesses and new technological gear (i.e., DSL modems, smartphones, tablets) make it easier than ever to check in on them, arrange services, and provide security for their safety.
You want to call and check in often with your loved one. After all, as Fortune points out, loneliness can have a negative impact on a person’s health and well-being. Now, think about how much better those calls would be if your loved one also got to see your gorgeous face.
Fun fact: Communicating face-to-face via video chat makes it easier for the hearing impaired to understand conversations. Actually, it helps improve communication in general. We read each other better when we can observe facial cues. So whether or not your loved one is losing their hearing or not (let’s be honest, aren’t we all?), you can appreciate the benefits of chatting over smartphones or tablets.
Connect with In-Home Care
The internet makes it easy to find qualified professionals that can help with in-home care. Depending on the amount of care required, they can be a more affordable option as well. For example, in Washington D.C., a resident could spend $3,000 on care services and $2,800 on their mortgage, and still spend less than the $6,000 it would take to live in an assisted living facility.
You can also connect with skilled tradesmen that can help with chores around the house as well. Handymen, plumbers, contractors: they all have listings online as well as reviews you can check to ensure you are getting the best service. You can also find housekeepers, gardeners, and dog walkers – anything your loved one may need. Best of all, you can compare the best deals and prices so you can stay within your caregiving budget.
Caregiving is the responsibility to help a loved one be both happy and safe. A caregiver is a point of contact, an advocate, and a provider of emotional support. They make sure their relative’s needs are met even if they must do so from a long distance. Today’s technological advances help a lot with long-distance caregiving. Technology helps you stay connected so you can emotionally support your loved one. It can also help you find people who can help out. You can find the professionals with the best reviews and shop for the best price.
Southern Tier Connect works with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and partner provider organizations to navigate the best services for you or your loved one. Reach out today to find out more! (607) 376-7526