As we move into the next phase of the coronavirus crisis where social distancing guidelines are slowly relaxed and more people go back to work, the state and federal governments are still recommending that we shield the most vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, those who are most at risk of having severe complications from the virus are seniors, and as a result, adult children or other loved ones may still need to find ways to provide care “from a distance” for everyone’s safety.
The following tips can help caregivers keep a watchful eye on their loved one and maintain control during a time of social distancing:
Keep a list of medications, a folder of important documents, and other important items in one place, and make sure all caregivers know where to find them. Use shareable, secure online services to keep track of phone numbers, account information, appointments, and any additional important information. If an emergency occurs, the goal is to be able to get everything to doctors or those providing in-person care immediately via email, via a link to documents stored in the cloud, or even by sharing photos of necessary documents.
Connect with Someone Local
Whether it’s a neighbor or a care coordinator, find someone who you trust to safely connect with your loved one in person. See to it that they have an extra key to your family member’s residence, provide them with home alarm codes if applicable, exchange phone numbers, and encourage them to reach out to you if they notice anything unusual.
Plan Ahead for In-Person Visits
Since keeping in-person visits to a minimum is recommended, you’ll want to plan ahead to ensure that you are making the most of your time together when you can meet. Ask your loved one in advance if there’s anything they would like to do when you are there (you can order new board games or activities online and have them shipped ahead of time for your arrival) or if they need anything at specific stores. Make a list of other things that need to get done while you’re in town, such as going to appointments, signing documents, and home maintenance so that you can prioritize your time.
Set Up Virtual Visits
When you visit your loved one in person, show them how to use technology to keep in touch in between visits. Provide them with a basic smartphone and show them how to do video calls or use the speaker phone. Once that’s done, schedule virtual visits with them to help them stay connected and to put your mind at ease.
Caring for an aging loved one from a distance can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Lean on other members of your caregiver team for support. If you are the sole caregiver, you can turn to a spouse, friend, or even a therapist if necessary. Our Tampa elder law attorneys are also here to help you navigate the challenges that you face. If you need assistance, we invite you to contact our firm at (813) 438-8503 to set up a consultation.