Here are eight ways you can help an aging, injured or disabled friend or relative, even if they are living many miles away:
- Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Once you have a medical diagnosis or know the extent of a loved one’s injury, take time to do some research. Gather information using the Internet or by consulting with medical experts and rehab facilities in your relative’s area.
- Communicate in a Variety of Ways
One of the best ways to let your friend or relative know you care is by connecting with them regularly. Set up phone calls or video chats at a time of day when they will most be in the mood to talk.
- Coordinate Medical Appointments and Finances
If a relative would like help with finances or medical needs, ask them for written permission, so you can access their financial records and talk freely with their healthcare providers. Many online services are available to track your relative’s finances or help them pay household bills.
- Learn About Insurance Coverage
Understand what might be covered by your loved one’s insurance or what may have to be paid for out of pocket.
- Consult with Mobility Equipment Experts
When purchasing medical equipment, find a reputable company that you can trust in your loved one’s area that services and physically assembles the products on-site. They can also educate the user and caregiver during in-person visits.
- Ask for a Home Assessment
An injury or serious illness can make it more difficult for individuals to get around. They may need modifications to their environment in order to stay in their home, or they may require specialized mobility equipment to perform daily activities of living. If your loved one is at risk of falling, ask a Mobility Plus consultant to do a fall assessment of the home environment and recommend equipment to reduce their risk of falling.
- Make Your Health a Priority
You won’t be as helpful to those who need you, if you are overwhelmed with worries and experiencing your own health issues. Here are a few tips for improving your overall health:
- Confide in a trusted friend or family member about the challenges you’re facing.
- Take time to exercise regularly, eat healthy, well-balanced meals and get plenty of sleep.
- Devote time to a favorite activity or hobby.
- Consider joining a support group for caregivers — either online or in-person.
- Create a Team of Supporters
Exchange contact information with neighbors, nearby family members and healthcare providers, so you can easily be notified in an emergency. If there is a local caregiver, make sure to communicate often about your loved one’s needs and their progress.