These long-distance caregiving tips can help ensure your Veteran loved one is healthy & safe.
Are you a long-distance caregiver? Even under the best of circumstances, caregiving is challenging. Many Veterans are separated from their families, and when you’re trying to provide for your loved one’s needs from far away, it can become downright overwhelming. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help both you both.
Long-distance caregiving tips
Providing care for someone can be complicated; that’s why having some long-distance caregiving tips to rely on is important.
Establish Care From Afar
According to studies cited by the Family Caregiver Alliance, 5.5 million Americans are caring for former or current military personnel every day. Some caregivers are doing so from afar. There may be times you feel helpless, but know you are not.
It’s vital to be proactive when you’re a long-distance caregiver. Reach out to the community in which your loved one lives. Touch base with your Veteran’s friends, neighbors, and doctor. If your loved one is involved with any special groups, such as a church, card playing buddies, or fellow sports fans, reach out to those people for assistance. Now isn’t a time to be shy.
Also, gather as much information as you can relating to your loved one’s situation. List important phone numbers, medications, insurance information, and where prescriptions are normally filled. You can find local Veteran facilities using an online search tool, which can provide you with specific contact information and a map to your desired location.
Connect with Neighbors
You should make a visit to your loved one if at all possible. As some experts note, it’s an opportunity to assess your Veteran’s situation firsthand. You can look for issues in the home, such as needing an entryway ramp installed or grab bars in the bathroom. It’s also a chance to meet personally with the neighbors. Get a feel for who is most comfortable and reliable, and who is already on friendly terms with your veteran. It’s a perfect time to exchange basic data about your loved one, schedules, and contact information such as social media accounts.
Even if you decide the neighbors aren’t going to be as helpful as you hoped, being in the area can benefit you in other ways. One suggestion is to think in terms of assembling a team of people you can count on who are local to your Veteran. Check into reliable handyman services, clergy, and lawn care personnel. Another idea is to inquire with local agencies for possible transportation and meal delivery services.
Living away from your loved one can make it hard to meet needs. One of the most important things you can do is to connect with your Veteran’s neighbors. This is even more important if your loved one lives alone. Trying to manage things while flying solo can lead to difficulties in the long run, even if things are going reasonably well.
As we grow older, our bodies and minds can become less adept, leading to illnesses and injuries that may require medical attention. Or, they may simply require more assistance managing daily tasks.
Even if your loved one is successfully independent, including your Veteran’s neighbors means you ensure someone is close enough physically and socially to step in should the situation change.
While it’s easy to say you should connect with your Veteran’s neighbors, actually doing so can be difficult. Things may feel awkward, or the neighbors might be unfriendly, or they may be inappropriate in other ways.
There are organizations such as A Little Help that connect people in need with helpful folks in their area. A Little Help partners with professional organizations, schools, and scout troops to find middle- and high school-age youth who can provide help and companionship, particularly to seniors. They offer not only personal interaction but also assistance with chores and errands. They can even give insights into technology if your loved one is struggling, such as with phone updates and social media accounts.
You can also hire professional services to fill in gaps, too. Seniors in particular tend to be vulnerable to scams, but you can ensure issues like home maintenance stay up to snuff by finding pros through websites like Angi. For instance, a quick search for a “gutter cleaner near me” will reveal contractors you can hire, just check their reviews and ratings to select someone with a robust reputation.
Caring for a senior or disabled veteran from across the miles is tough. However, you there is help available. Reach out into the community for local resources, as well as your loved one’s friends and neighbors. Those connections can prove crucial to providing good care.