Getting started as a long-distance caregiver might feel impossible at first. There might be so much that your senior needs, especially if this is a critical situation. It helps to have an idea where to get started.
Ask Your Senior and Her Doctor What You Can Do
Your senior may have some ideas that help you know what you can do for her. Another option is to talk to her doctor, as well. Her doctor can help to take any of the mystery out of whatever is going on with your aging family member. From there, you can start to make plans.
Learn More about Caregiving in General
Add learning about caregiving to your learning curve, too. If possible, consider joining a caregiver support group where you are. You'll get a chance to learn more about what caregiving entails and you might make some new friends who understand what you're up against.
Set up Plans to Visit
If you haven't visited in a while, you might need to make a trip as soon as possible. This is going to allow you to see firsthand what is going on. From there, you might have some other plans based on what you learn. While you're there, it's a good idea to meet up with your senior's doctor, too.
Develop Routines that Work
It's important to have the right routines, especially as a long-distance caregiver. You and your senior need to check in with each other regularly, for starters. When you have a routine for staying in contact, that gives you valuable information. From there, you might want routines for managing your senior's medications, keeping up with medical information, and for helping her to maintain her home.
Get Some Extra Help
You don't have to do this alone. Just because you're far away, that doesn't mean that you can't have eyes and ears on the scene. Home care providers can do the daily legwork and help to ensure that your senior is safe. They can also let you know things that your elderly family member might not, like when she's having more pain or when driving becomes difficult for her.
Every situation is different, of course, but you may need to start looking at whether long-distance caregiving is going to work for your senior. Depending on her health and needs, this may be a solution that works well for both of you for a long time. Otherwise, you might need to explore some other solutions.