We live in a mobile society and that means that adult children are not always going to live in close proximity to aging parents. That makes it difficult to make sure their daily needs are addressed, especially in the case of illness or chronic disease. It is possible to put together a long distance care team that will provide for your loved one and give you some peace of mind. Here are some tips on how to put together a reliable team that will serve the best interests of your loved one.

1. What help is needed?
  • What do they need daily?
  • What tasks are difficult for them?
  • Do they have regular weekly or monthly appointments – hair, physician etc. that they need transportation to and from?
2. Talk to the loved ones doctor
  • If your loved one is willing to give you written permission, ask the doctor to update you about their health. You can also discuss this with your loved one, but often people will hide information about their health condition for fear of losing their independence. You need to know exactly what the health impairments are in order to address them appropriately.
  • If you do not have permission, they may be willing to suggest the types of support that think will be most helpful.
3. Talk to friends, family members, neighbour’s of your loved one
  • Can a schedule of support and help be created?
  • Can a neighbour’s child take out the bins or walk your loved one’s dog?
  • Can a sibling who lives close by take your loved one shopping?
  • Can neighbours or family members check in regularly, especially during extreme hot and cold weather?
  • Make sure everyone has all your phone numbers, your e-mail and other contact information.
4. Rely on local resources

There are many organisations that provide support for people requiring care.

  • Torbay Health and Social Care Team
  • Devon County Council
  • NHS
  • Age UK

Home Care Companies can also be a great resource to rely on. Certified, professional home carers can take care of your loved one and keep you updated on their condition.

5. Keep detailed records
  • Create a folder in which you can keep notes, medical records, insurance information, calendars and even printed copies of emails. This will be a great help to you as the care of your loved one becomes more complex
  • Include contact information for all doctors, nurse practitioners, case managers and specialists, like physical therapists
  • Make copies for all those involved in the support and care of your loved one and keep the records updated

The NHS also has a webpage dedicated to carers. It is a rich source of information that lists numerous books, fact sheets and information pages on a wide range of issues involved in caring for a loved one.

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