“I need you at home…NOW! Your dad hasn’t been feeling well and the doctor wants to admit him to the hospital for tests!”
Those aren’t the words that we want to hear pouring out from the telephone in the middle of the day. However, if we’re involved in long-distance caregiving of a seniorloved one, many of us are juggling this care routine by phone. And, jetting out of town for a quick check-in visit can be unsettling for our entire household — especially without prior planning.
The video below helps us identify tasks that we can accomplish ahead of time in order to be prepared for a last-minute trip home to check on Mom or Dad. Inevitably, that unexpected or emergency trip home WILL happen sometime during our caregiving experience with our parents.
An example of materials that you can prepare BEFORE an emergency include a “Fileof Life.” This file of personal information is placed in a readily visible location, such as the refrigerator door, and contains vital details such as: lists of medications, special health conditions, contact information for doctors and family members and other care information.
You may also want to make prior arrangements for developing a back up care plan for your children or pets and having an overnight bag packed and ready for a quick departure.
If you are employed, you may want to consider informing your employer that you are a long-distance care provider and that you wish to provide a back-upplan for your workload in the event of an unscheduled absence.
Additonally, you may want to consider hiring a geriatric care manager for an evaluation and overall discussion about your senior loved one’s total care needs. This overview will provide you with options such as community resources and assistance such as in-home care from licensed professionals. Another resource that will help you with your emergency plan includes the National Institute on Aging.
By planning for the unexpected, a sudden trip out of town to check in on a long-distance family member may be a visit for your peace of mind — rather than a chaotic upheaval in your day-to-day household.
If you have a story to tell about your long-distance caregiving experience, please share with us on our Home Care blog.