How Long-Distance Caregivers Can Build Local Connections

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Supporting a loved one from a distance presents unique challenges. No matter how steadfast and thorough you are, there is no substitute for local support. In that respect, getting to know your senior loved one’s neighbors can be a key to success.

Use these tips from Unified Caring Association Reviews to help your senior loved one develop community connections to ease your burden and give your loved one a better quality of life.

Learn the health benefits of connecting. It can be difficult at first to gain the trust of individuals you don’t know, but the right contacts can be a big help when it comes to your loved one’s health. They need social interaction and may require assistance with running errands and household chores. A reliable companion can even update you on your loved one’s health. 

Pay a visit. Knowing your loved one needs local assistance is one thing, figuring out how to make that happen is another. When it comes to connecting with neighbors and doctors, your best bet is to visit your loved one in person. Plan your visit carefully so you can make the most of your time there. Taking time off of work can be a challenge when you are self-employed. If you can’t take a week away, try to take more three-day weekends.

Have conversations. Talking with your loved one can be challenging, seniors can often feel like they don’t have any independence or privacy, especially if they feel you are questioning their abilities. Aging Care recommends providing encouragement and support, but not giving advice unless it’s asked for. If your senior is still driving, instead of asking about their skills and abilities, ask if you can go for a ride during your visit. Run some errands, and observe the situation first-hand. 

Make new connections. If your loved one is reclusive or lives far from town, consider connecting your loved one with local services specific to helping seniors. Some organizations, for example, pair seniors with local youth who perform services like household chores, snow removal, and transportation. Another idea is to look for helpers throughout the community who are able to connect regularly with your senior, such as faith organizations, postal workers, and food delivery services

Think through contacts. Spending time face-to-face with your loved one will help you gauge who they are interacting with routinely. Is there a weekly card group you can connect with? How about a coffee club that meets in the mornings? Find out who your senior is in regular contact with already, and get some names and numbers. Chances are, those people who already go out of their way to get to know your loved one will be most interested and reliable when it comes to your senior’s well-being. 

If your senior loved one isn’t involved in the community, put your effort into helping them make friends. Companions For Seniors notes that seniors can make more friends by volunteering for the community, going to exercise, or continuing education classes, and joining local groups. Another option is to help your senior reconnect with long-lost friends from their youth. Sites like ClassFinders simplify the ability to track down former classmates. You simply look for a name, locate their high school and graduation year, and then use the site to send a message. Rekindling an old friendship can be a boon for seniors looking to expand their social network. 

Communication and networking. There are many ways you can stay in touch after you’re back home, especially with today’s technology. Social media and texting are convenient methods of communicating, and video chats offer a chance to observe and interact with your senior from afar.

Loving and supporting your senior from a distance can be a daunting task. Establish a network of neighbors to ease your mind and make your loved one’s life better. With the right plan in place, providing practical, local assistance to your loved one is feasible.

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