Tips for Adult Children: How to Supervise In-Home Caregivers Long Distance

Elderly woman on phoneWhen a Colorado senior loved one lives far away from you, the challenges of making sure they are well cared for rise significantly. For many adult children, the solution is to employ in-home caregivers to assist with personal care, housekeeping, medication reminders and more. But being able to oversee what the caregiver is doing and what they might not be doing can be real struggle when you live far away.

Types of In-Home Care for Older Adults in Colorado

The first step in hiring a caregiver in Colorado is to understand the different types of in-home care that are available. There are two types: Skilled Care Home Health Care and Non-Medical Home Care.

If your loved one needs a helping hand with what are considered to be the activities of daily living (ADL)--eating, bathing, dressing and personal hygiene--it is considered to be custodial care. That means it doesn’t require the assistance of a skilled health care professional, such as a nurse or a physical therapist. In-home caregivers can also help them with meal preparation, transportation to and from appointments and errands, laundry, housekeeping and more.

By contrast, home health care includes the skilled services of a nurse, a speech, physical or occupational therapist and even social services support. These services can be utilized to help a senior get back on their feet after an illness, injury or surgery.

4 Tips for Supervising Long-Distance Caregivers

Feeling confident that the in-home caregiver is providing your senior loved one with the care they need when you are too far away to check on them in person is a concern many adult children share. Here are a few suggestions that might help:

  • Ask the home care agency to provide you with a detailed description of the services they are providing at every visit. Not a generic one but a true, personalized list.
  • Talk with your senior loved one about the services the agency is telling you they provided. Ask how they feel about their care and if they feel as if they are getting what they are paying for in an in-home caregiver.
  • Utilize a video service such as Skype to talk with your aging family member and the caregiver when they are together. It will give you an opportunity to virtually assess the relationship.
  • If your parent or older family member belongs to a religious organization, call to find out if anyone there provides friendly visits to homebound seniors. It can be another avenue for having someone personally assess how well your loved one’s needs are being met.
  • Finally, consider employing an elder care manager to act as your local eyes and ears. They can check in on your family member and oversee the care the home care agency is providing. It is one of the most in-demand services that we have for senior sand adult children in Colorado.

The Department of Health and Human Services developed a guide you may find to be of help as well. So Far Away: 20 Questions for Long-Distance Caregivers covers a variety of topics ranging from talking with a senior’s physician by phone to coping with caregiver guilt.

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