For families who take an active role in caring for their loved ones,
monitoring and maintaining the best possible care can be a challenge. Decision
making and addressing daily needs can be complex for family caregivers. If you
have a loved one who is the primary decision maker for a family member’s care,
you can help support them to help them with their extra layer of responsibility
even if you aren’t directly involved with every decision made.
Here are a few valuable tips to help you stay in the loop with your
loved one’s care and be a pillar of support for any family caregiver in your
Keep in touch as often as possible.
Many tech savvy Baby Boomers and Sandwich Generation family members create
specific call schedules to speak with their relatives and even video chat. It’s
important to set aside time specifically for updates on your loved one and find
out how you can assist in caring for your loved one in indirect ways.
Understand any expenses
associated with ensuring quality care.
According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute study many family members
involved in caregiving can spend, “an average of $392 per month on travel and
total out-of-pocket expenses.” If you are in the position to advocate for
shared financial responsibility, set aside time to review expenses, and save
money for unexpected visits or care requirements to help your loved one.
Visit when you can.
Whether the distance is five minutes or five hours, it is important to plan a
visit as a moment to spend quality time with your loved one, family members AND
gather information for care decisions.
Get Smart about daily health statistics.
Stay in the care loop by exploring modern technology tools that integrate with
every day health activities like blood pressure and glucose monitoring.
Technological advances in health-related smart devices can help you worry less.
Help create a larger support system.
According to an article featured on care.com, “there are ways to provide
additional care for a loved one [indirectly] and gain peace of mind” when you
reach out to “a religious organization, a nice neighbor or a senior care
advisor,” or other “helpful resources such as meal delivery programs, community
outreach, senior centers and public services.”
Help schedule family or care support meetings.
The more prepared you are with
health, financial, and emergency plans, the better you can enjoy peace of mind
for your loved one’s long-distance care. In order to do this your family will
need to set aside time to strategically discuss major decisions and plan for
the future. Keeping open communication with family and others who support the
care receiver and primary care giver helps ease the burden of last minute or
solitary decision making.
Continue to maintain a positive outlook by doing what you can to assist your
family care giver. When you do all you can to assist with the care of your
loved one, you can reduce person feelings of guilt or anxiety. Remember to help
your loved one celebrate victories in the care giving process and continuously
Gain knowledge about caregiving itself.
Being supportive in many cases means having a firm understanding of what
someone is facing. Learn about caregiving
organizations that offer education and support in your loved one’s area, invest
time in understanding elder-care benefits that are common for employers to
offer as well as resources in their community.
Research as much as you can
about your family member’s medical condition, treatment, and care.
According to the National Institute on Aging, “[t]his can help you
understand what is going on, anticipate the course of an illness, prevent
crises, and assist in healthcare management.” This can also help you create a
list of questions or concerns that could be helpful to a family caregiver or
covers information that may not have been considered.
Be an advocate for expert help.
Caring for a senior loved one will have limitations that the primary
family care giver will not be able to meet.
If you notice your family member struggling to meet demanding
expectations, be realistic about the quality of care you want your loved one to
receive and seek experts to fill in the gaps of those limitations. In many
cases large tasks like senior relocation or downsizing is a better handled by
knowledgeable experts, like those within the Caring Transitions system, able to
plan and organize a move from start to finish.
Always remember the best way to care for a family caregiver is to be
available to listen and affirm they are not taking on this responsibility
alone. Be open to becoming their listening ear and advocate for their
self-care. It’s never wrong to encourage them to take a moment for themselves
or be there when they need a break. Tips like these, and more, can help
simplify how your loved one and family members view care for a senior loved one,
changing care from the responsibility of one family member to the
responsibility of the family as a support system.