Long-distance caregiving for ageing parents

Long-distance caregiving for ageing parents

How to care for senior parents from a distance 

Living apart from senior loved ones as they age is hard. You’re worrying about them and wish you could do more. You’re making every effort to visit often, leaving you exhausted and stressed about looking after your own family while you’re away. You’d love to find some home care services in the Melbourne region but it’s just all too hard to arrange when you don’t live locally. Help is at hand. Home care advocates like Empower Aged Care can act on your behalf, assessing needs, finding and arranging services, all while keeping a senior’s nominated family in the loop for decision-making and peace of mind. You can focus on the things you CAN do, and enjoying the contact you have, without constant worry. Living close by but unable to give more care around work and family responsibilities? These tips can help you too.

Worried about your parents far from home? Start here.

When you’ve been unable to keep tabs on your parents’ health and living status from regular visits, the uncertainty over whether they’re in need of help is a constant worry. Even if you can get updates from caring neighbours or friends, you know you want to have the full picture to help decide what’s best for them. 

Perhaps you’re aware already of government-funded home care services, but trying to figure out how to access them, and get the wheels rolling on that process remotely, is a big concern. And if you hadn’t realised subsidised home care services exist, well, that’s another reason we’re here.

Navigating through My Aged Care to obtain an assessment by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) can be confusing. And putting the pieces together, from the assessment to finding and booking services, is overwhelming even if you’re living with your senior loved one seeking care. We’ve written some more about the ACAS process in our earlier post.

Empower Aged Care’s Holistic Aged Care Assessment gives a comprehensive picture of what a senior’s needs are (physical, mental, social) and determines the best way forward. Plus, we are an all-inclusive service, we’ll be with you all the way from recommending the right services, arranging assessments with My Aged Care and speaking with home care services in the Melbourne region to ensure a smooth start. 

Helping you take care of ageing parents from a distance

A home care advocate like Empower Aged Care can conduct home visits around the Melbourne region and discuss home care options with a senior’s nominated loved ones – with the senior’s consent. When you can’t be with your ageing parents, we’ll be your eyes and ears. We’ll have a discussion with seniors and family decision-makers to ensure everyone is on the same page about home care services.

How we’ve helped families arrange home care remotely

Without experience in navigating the aged care system, it’s hard enough to get the answers you need from My Aged Care. Add living remotely and you’ll be faced with frustration. But we’ve been here before and have the experience to take care of things for you.

We recently looked after Terry*, an 85 year old gentleman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia a year ago. His condition places quite a lot of stress on his wife Tracy*. The couple live in Geelong and have 3 adult children, however all work full time and their closest son lives an hour away in Melbourne and could not readily visit. We knew having home care services would make such a difference for Terry and Tracy. We visited them in Geelong to complete a comprehensive in-home assessment. 

With consent to act on Terry’s behalf, we implemented several support strategies. We:

  • recommended a review by a local geriatrician to review Terry’s memory
  • developed strategies to manage Alzheimer’s dementia with day-to-day activities for maintaining routines and keeping the mind and body active.
  • linked Tracy with carer support services via the Carer Gateway and Dementia Australia. 
  • handled the referral to My Aged Care for:
    1. Home based services such as in-home respite.
    2. ACAS for a home care package and residential care paperwork in the event of an emergency such as Tracy being unwell. 

Creating this solution for our clients meant they could enjoy improved wellbeing without needing to go through the stress of arranging it all. 

Long-distance caregiving for seniors – some tips

This is not all about handing over the care and connection with your parents to someone else entirely. Staying engaged and providing any help you can is going to help your parents to feel well supported.

Other things you can do to provide remote support for seniors:

  • Help them handling their bills online.
  • Help them to stay on track with their schedule, phone up for friendly reminders.
  • Make regular contact by phone or video call for emotional support.
  • Engage in remote hobbies, like virtual games, if internet access is available.

It’s important to recognise you can’t do everything for your parents. Keeping in regular contact feels less stressful when you know you have engaged some practical help. Home care services can meet the needs that you’re unable to, due to distance. 

Having home care services in place takes a weight off you and your senior loved one. You can enjoy catching up on news rather than feeling like you should be caregiving as well.

Emergency planning from a distance

Consider preparing for emergency action in case of falls or sudden illness. Could you arrange for a locally based friend or relative to be the point of contact if needed? Ensure your senior parents’ neighbours have your phone number.

Our Senior in Control checklist provides some helpful reminders of important preparations and planning for remaining independent and in control for living well at home for longer. 

Your local advocate – supporting your ageing parents

It’s frustrating trying to look after your parents’ wellbeing from a distance. When you’re not local to the Melbourne region, engaging a home care advocate like Empower Aged Care gives you the confidence of having an expert navigating the home-based aged care system for you. You’ll have one point of contact, dedicated to creating a home care solution so your parents can live well at home for longer.

Don’t worry about trying to work out the ‘system’ because we will simplify it for you. 

We will: 

  • meet seniors in their own home to determine what they are eligible for and make recommendations specific to their situation.
  • complete a referral to My Aged Care and other service providers 
  • liaise with My Aged Care on your senior loved one’s behalf to ensure they receive the right assessment and are approved for the right services 
  • also liaise with service providers to get home care services started. 

If you’re considering arranging home care services for your Melbourne-based parents when you don’t live close to them, you can get in touch to book a Holistic Aged Care Assessment by calling 0404 444 985.


*Names have been changed for privacy


Prepare to get the most from your ACAS assessment

ACAS assessment

What is involved in an aged care assessment?

Talking about changing needs, and seeking help with living at home, can be a bewildering and stressful experience for seniors. When undertaking an aged care assessment, the clinician needs to hear all of a senior’s concerns so they can recommend all the services needed. It’s not a time for your senior loved one to ‘grin and bear it’, or they might miss out on valuable help. Being prepared and having an advocate in the process is vital to getting approved for the right supports, which directly impacts the services and amount of funding seniors may receive.

Read more: Prepare to get the most from your ACAS assessment

Have your home-based aged care needs changed?

review home care plan

A reassessment is key to reviewing home care plans

When your senior loved one has had their home care assessment and arranged home-based aged care services – via government-funded services or private home care – you might think ‘That’s it, it’s locked in’. Yet, over time, their needs change, and they need more or different services. What then? They won’t receive additional services automatically. It’s up to you or your senior loved one to organise additional in-home care. A new aged care assessment will help identify the services to meet new needs, and is required for approval for a Home Care Package.

Read more: Have your home-based aged care needs changed?

My ageing parents won’t admit they need help at home

parents need help

How to talk to your parents about home-based aged care

Quite often I find it’s the senior mum of the family who holds out on getting home care services. She’s been looking after her family and herself for too long to admit she needs help. Senior dads can also be unwilling to let on that they would welcome some help around the house. But the key is that accessing home based care can support your ageing parents to maintain their independence. Start having conversations early, to acknowledge and address any concerns about engaging home care services.

Read more: My ageing parents won’t admit they need help at home

Caring for a senior? Be sure to care for yourself too

caring for seniors

Tips for carers providing aged care assistance at home

Caring for senior loved ones at home is a demanding yet rewarding experience. During my time caring for my nanna I felt both joy at our precious time together and tears at the physical and emotional exhaustion of it all. If you’re providing aged care assistance at home, take some time to come up for air a moment. You’ve got this.

Read more: Caring for a senior? Be sure to care for yourself too

How to start home care services quickly

how to start home care services

Help, I need home care services in a hurry

Suddenly finding yourself caring for a senior loved one who needs help is distressing. You might feel out of your depth. Your first contact is likely going to be their GP or other medical professional to take care of urgent medical needs. Outside the doctor’s office, though, you have a huge number of support options to access. I’ve been there, unexpectedly taking on a primary carer role for my nanna and I remember how difficult it was to find the information I needed. Here are some key steps to help you know how to start home care services quickly.

Read more: How to start home care services quickly

When to consider home-based care

time to use homecare services

When is the right time to use home-based aged care services?

In some situations, such as a sudden illness or injury, there’s an urgent need for home care services. I’m often helping people who are trying to arrange services when they’re stressed while organising medical care as well. But getting extra help at home doesn’t have to be a last-minute consideration.

Read more: When to consider home-based care

Accessing Aged Care services isn’t just about going into care

accessing aged care

Mention Aged Care to some people and their minds immediately jump straight to going into an aged care facility. This isn’t helped by the fact that, not too long ago, aged care facilities were called nursing homes. Yikes!

For this reason, many older Australians don’t ask for help when they need it. They carry on at home, not letting on how bad things are becoming.

Realising that a loved one isn’t coping is distressing for the older person as well as their family, friends and neighbours. But accessing Aged Care services isn’t just about going into care. It’s about getting you the help you need, when you need it.

With a focus on keeping you well at home for longer, let’s take a look at what aged care services are available today.

Read more: Accessing Aged Care services isn’t just about going into care

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