When you’re far away from an older loved one, it’s easy for anxiety to become overwhelming. Your mind may be overrun with thoughts of what could happen. Who will check on them? How will you help in an emergency? What if they have needs you can’t see from a distance?
These are legitimate concerns, but there are ways to mitigate them. By taking a proactive approach to your loved one’s safety, you can make sure that should anything happen, you’re able to get help to them in time.
Here are a few ways you can keep your parent, family member, or older friend safe no matter where you are:
Stay In Touch
The best resource you have for keeping your loved one healthy is communication. Regular conversation, whether through phone calls or text messages, will help you stay aware of issues. If you only talk once in a while, you will only get the highlight reel. This might lead to missing the little signs of a problem before they become a big deal. Daily communication is vital for ensuring your older loved one is safe and healthy.
A great way to facilitate this daily conversation is to make sure your loved one has a good cell phone plan. You want to make sure they have unlimited talk, data, and text so that they don’t have to worry about overage charges while staying in touch with you. Some providers have discounted wireless plans for seniors. Research your options and find the plan that’s best for your family.
One of the scariest parts of being far away from an older loved one is the thought that they might get injured in their home or lost while out and about. In either case, they may lack the resources to let you know something has gone awry. A medical alert device that tracks location can offer you both a heavy dose of peace of mind.
These devices allow you to access your loved one’s location if you can’t reach them through other means. It also gives them a way to contact medical help if they sustain an injury while they’re alone. The benefits of this are innumerable, and it’s no exaggeration to say these devices can be life-saving.
Meet the Neighbors
Getting to know your loved one’s community can also give you peace of mind while caring for them from a distance. Their neighbors, friends, and other community members can be valuable resources. Ask for their phone number – and give them yours – and see if they’d be willing to check in periodically to make sure things are okay. Sometimes older family members are unable to recognize the barriers they face. As Greater Good Magazine points out, a watchful eye next door can make all the difference.
Sometimes older people need extra help around the house. Whether it’s medical care, complete housekeeping, or just a hand knocking out the chores, a helper can be a life-changer for senior citizens. Consider hiring someone to give your loved one a bit of needed assistance day-to-day.
If it’s medical care they need, health insurance may be able to subsidize or cover the cost of an in-home nurse. A professional can make sure your loved one is on track with medications, can keep track of vitals, and help with daily self-care measures that might become difficult with age such as showering and preparing meals. Moreover, like a neighbor, they may be able to catch little things before they become bigger problems.
It’s hard to care for someone when you’re far away. With the help of the community, open communication, and a touch of technology for peace of mind, however, you can be there, even if you’re not literally there. With the right resources, your loved one can be healthy, safe, and able to let you know when they need a little extra help to thrive.
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