Providing long distance care for an aging family member can be especially difficult during a pandemic. Below are a few tips to consider if you are in this situation:
1. Gather a list of resources available in the senior’s neighborhood. Use the internet to familiarize yourself with your aging loved one’s neighborhood. Create a map that shows where certain resources can be obtained such as health care providers, a pharmacy, medical supplies providers, the local ombudsman office, financial institutions where your aging loved one has accounts, an estate planning attorney, a CPA and any mental health professionals that may be appropriate as resources.
2. Organize documents. As a long distance caregiver you will need access to the loved one’s personal health, financial and legal records. Make sure your loved one has provided an access plan to this essential information if and when he or she becomes incapacitated and or passes away. Depending on the cognitive condition of the aging loved one you may need to actually possess copies of all of this information or just have a plan of access at such time of need.
3. Plan your visits. Make sure your loved one has a schedule and knows when to expect you to visit in person. Try to visit as often as possible. When visiting, balance out your time between caretaking and enjoyable activities. These visits are a good time to make sure your resources are all still in place and available when you need them.
4. Consider setting up an Alexa care hub. This new feature from Amazon's Alexa allows caregivers to monitor activity and receive alerts about their aging loved ones from a distance. The senior will need an Echo or Alexa enabled device and wi-fi. The caregiver will need to download the Alexa app onto a phone. From that Alexa app, the caregiver can view a summary of the senior’s interactions with Alexa and other compatible connected smart home devices. The care hub also allows you to create alerts and enables emergency contact calling.
At Stouffer Legal, we care about our seniors and stay up-to-date on technology and tools that may help improve the lives of loved ones and caregivers. For more information about elder law, long-term care planning and estate planning, please contact Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area.