Tips for long distance relationships for caregivers of a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease
Tips for long distance relationships between the caregiver and a loved one with dementia can be helpful. It is difficult having a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease, and more so if you live in a city that’s far away from them, it is hard to know what to do. In many
cases, it’s impractical for you or your parent to move so that you’re closer, so you are stuck with a long-distance care-giving arrangement. Believe it or not, there are ways you can look after a loved one with dementia even if you’re on the other side of the country. Here are some tips that can help you.
Start a log
Experts say that our population is getting older, and Alzheimer’s is becoming a bigger issue. They expect that the incidence of this disease will quadruple over just the next fifty years. Researchers have no cure right now; so many Americans will be in the same situation as you. Start a log related to your parent’s care, and keep notes of everything that may be important in case you become a long distance caregiver in the future.
Set up an emergency procedure
It’s wise to give your parent one of the emergency alert bracelets or necklaces, which lets them push a button if they require help. This will summon paramedics or police for immediate assistance. You can also talk to their neighbors or friends, and have them notify you if anything out of the ordinary happens.
Get paperwork organized
The next time you see your parent, spend some time with them trying to find and organize all of their paperwork. You’re looking for legal and financial information, such as social security cards, birth, marriage or divorce certificates, wills, and power of attorney documents.
Find out about their bank accounts, real estate titles, and insurance policies. At some point, you may need to start handling their bills and managing their affairs. For now, make sure all the documents are stored in a safe place, like a safe-deposit box.
Get their affairs in order
When a loved one has Alzheimer’s, it is important for them to get their wishes documented and affairs in order while they can, before the disease progresses too far. They may not want to talk about it, but they should have a will in place, as well as a living will. Depending on the assets involved, an estate planning expert may help with setting up a trust. While there are ways to deal with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, remember that the condition is incurable and you never know if you’ll be needed when there is a long distance between you.
Get approval to handle their affairs
The time will come when your parent can no longer manage things themselves. If you are going to handle arrangements for them, you’ll need the proper approvals. They can give you a power of attorney to act on their behalf. They can give you signature authority on their bank accounts. They can also make you a representative payee, so that you receive their government checks for them.
Be prepared for travel
You will probably need to make occasional trips to visit your loved one, so that you can take care of things that need to be done in person. It gives you a good opportunity to visit with them at the same time. If you’re going to be doing this trip repeatedly, check into the best travel options – airlines, car rental, and hotels. At some point, you may need to make the trip on short notice.
Consider professional home care
Hire a nursing specialist or a caregiver for your loved ones and have a computer nearby. Install social programs such as Skype and talk to them on a regular basis. You can also see your relatives from a distance through a camera. You should stay updated with the changes in their behavior, and find the time to come visit at least once a month.
Dealing with a relative suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease can be dreadful. If you’re living in a different city or country, caring for your loved ones becomes an impossible job. And yet, there are ways to look after them from a distance. Whether you choose to Skype once a week or come visit every month, it’s really important to stay in touch. Dementia will eventually affect your parent’s memory, so you want to enjoy the time you still have available and interact as often as possible.
Stay in-touch with email. They know your voice. They enjoy your conversations.SKYPE and talk to your loved one whenever you likeLeave your smiling face with them all the time in a digital frameShow other family members and fun activities too!Send your voice, recordings, or their favorite music.