September 16, 2022

Supporting a loved one from afar

It’s hard to be apart from the ones we love, especially as they age. Caring for someone from afar can be an emotional and frustrating experience, but there are many ways for you to make an impact. Whether you live an hour away or in another country, here are some tips, tools and resources to help you give support from afar.

Think about what you can do: It’s alright if you can’t do everything for your loved one. Instead, think about what you can do. If you are good with money – offer to help manage finances. If you are an organizer – schedule regular family calls and coordinate medical care. If you are a talker – make time to engage your loved one in regular conversations. Once you know what you can do, you can get help to support the rest.

Make a plan: Whether it’s in person or remote, it’s important to gather the support group together and align on wants and needs, schedules, plan of action, etc…Make sure someone has written permission to receive medical and financial information and try to designate at least one person who is near your loved one to be available in cases of emergency.

Keep them current on technology: It’s increasingly important to check in on loved ones as they age, but the use of tools such as smartphones and email can be daunting to some. To help seniors use video chat technology, we recently compiled a list of resources that explains the major platforms (Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp) and how to use them. When you do connect with your loved one remotely, normalize talking about tough questions – even if you aren’t in the same room.

Explore different living and care options: Sometimes helping a loved one requires getting help that’s closer to them. If moving closer to them is not an option, hiring in-home care or researching senior living communities are potential options to discuss. As your family navigates solutions, please remember that Kline Galland offers a free senior care resource line to answer any questions you may have. 

Stay connected: Don’t be afraid to let your loved one know (repeatedly) that you’re here to help. Offer to schedule conference calls with doctors or senior living community staff and check in with neighbors (if possible) to ensure they have an emergency phone number for your loved one. 

Distance is certainly a challenge when caring for aging loved ones, but it can be manageable with some strategic planning and a team effort. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Kline Galland’s Senior Care Resource Line at 206-723-INFO (4636).