Added on August 31, 2017 by Marie_Villeza
If you live more than an hour or so away from an elderly loved one but are still responsible for their care, you are technically a long-distance caregiver. Unavoidable life circumstances often prevent us from living as close to our loved ones as we wish we could, but even so, we sometimes still have the responsibility of organizing their caretaking. Lucky for us, modern technology is making long-distance caregiving easier than ever. Here's how you can use apps and services to ensure your loved one is safe and happy from afar.
You cannot be by your loved one's side all the time - but you can make sure that they have the proper help whenever they need it. There are trusted sites that you can use to search for qualified housekeepers or nurses in your loved one's area. Even if your loved one is mostly independent, they will most likely need the help of a nurse if they suffer from any sort of chronic health problem or mild cognitive impairment. Even independent seniors often require the help of a housekeeper - especially if mobility issues prevent them from spending a lot of time on their feet or from lifting heavy objects.
Apps like Task Rabbit allow you to hire help for everyday tasks from knowledgeable "taskers" looking for work. Let's say your loved one needs to repair a leak, go to the grocery during inclement weather, or put together a new piece of furniture. If you live hours away, it's likely not feasible for you to go help them. Instead, hire someone in their local area to go do the task for them.
Other apps exist for specialty care, like the care of your loved one's pets. Rover.com, for example, is a service that matches dog lovers looking for work with dog owners looking for help. You can match with people in your area and hire them to come walk the dog, board it for the night, or keep it during the day.
If you want to share caregiving duties with another relative or a private nurse, you may need an app like CareZone. This app allows multiple users to share documents, medication lists, schedules, care journals, to-do lists, contact information, and many more things necessary for elder care. Best of all, it's free.
Gone are the days when a phone call was the best way to check up on an aging loved one. There now exists a multitude of applications that allow you to talk face-to-face with your loved one - and most of them are free and easy to use (if your loved one is a bit technologically-challenged). You can video chat for free via Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Viber, Tango, or even straight through your iPhone with FaceTime. The point is that your loved one has plenty of options, and they should be able to get the hang of at least one of them.
In the end, a lot of long-distance care is organizing close care from afar. If your senior loved one is living alone but independently, they are ok with this level of care - so you shouldn't feel guilty. Modern apps and services allow for you to extend a fairly proficient level of care even if you live thousands of miles away. All you need is a phone and an internet connection and you can schedule health care, housekeeping, dog walking, household tasks, and even communicate face-to-face multiple times a day.