A guide for families whose in-need loved ones don’t live nearby.
Taking responsibility for someone’s well-being is tricky enough, and even more so when you’re out of town. Our checklist can help you get the key bases covered, so you can rest assured that they’re in good hands, near, far, wherever you are.
- Make sure you know where your loved one keeps their important records, such as legal documents, and who their critical professionals are.
- It may be helpful to set up online direct debits for bills, and if getting to and from the supermarket has become problematic, you might also like to show them how to do their grocery shopping online.
- If you want to do more on a practical level, despite the distance, you could help simply by being the ‘information gatherer’. Take responsibility for online research about medications or services. Check out their public transport options if they’re no longer such a confident driver.
Keep things simple by booking different types of support through Mycare. You can keep track of visits, read notes from various workers and pay them each week through your Mycare account:
- Is it time to hire a gardener? From mowing lawns to dealing with overhanging branches, having someone local pitch in can alleviate worry and be a source of social contact.
- The same applies to home cleaning and maintenance. Arrange for a cleaner or support worker to take care of day-to-day tasks or maybe just the big annual ‘spring clean’. Ask your loved one to keep a list of anything that needs fixing, so you can hire a local handyman. You might also like to organise a six-monthly or annual family working bee.
- Ensure their physical safety by swapping phone numbers with a trusted neighbour.
- Get a St John Medical Alarm; you can sign up for a free trial here.
- Encourage them to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace and carry a card in their wallet that includes your contact details and that of their GP.
- If your loved one receives at-home care, keep in contact with the carer(s), to get a picture of the day-to-day goings-on. Mycare makes this easy.
- Ensure continuity of healthcare by arranging regular visits with the doctor, optometrist, dentist and any other health professionals, plus an easy means of getting there. St John offers free transport to and from such appointments.
- If you can’t be sure whether or not they’re preparing balanced meals for themselves, you might like to arrange a meal-delivery service.
- Encourage your loved one to keep up the exercise they enjoy, whether regular walks or classes tailored to seniors.
- Set up a schedule of calls and visits for you and your other relatives, so you’re checking in often.
- Rather than just ringing when you have five minutes to spare, try to give your loved one time on phone to feel comfortable broaching more serious subjects with you.
- Can you organise for a neighbour to pop in for an occasional visit? They may be able to get a better gauge on your loved one’s overall mood than you can over the phone, plus they’ll be able to note whether the house is clean or if there’s mail piling up.
- Investigate what’s on offer in terms of community outreach programmes.
- Encourage opportunities for spiritual connection. This need not be related to religion. A practice such as tai chi or meditation can be hugely beneficial on a social and physical level too.
- We all know life is better when there’s something to look forward to. Schedule family events into your loved one’s calendar and ensure they’re getting out and about too. Seniors organisations such as Age Concern offer local activities and events.
- Ensure you have the support you need when helping whanau and friends. Carers NZ is set up for carers and offers advice and a wealth of information.
Mycare’s support workers provide all kinds of affordable services to help people maintain their independence, health and happiness. To find out more, call our Customer Success Team on 0800 677 700, or email [email protected].