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:
- Home based services such as in-home respite.
- 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.
- 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