Not all of us are lucky enough to reside by our loved ones. Maybe you took a job in a distant city or met someone from a different state. Now that a loved one has Alzheimer’s, you may not know how you can be of support. The lines may be even more blurred if you have siblings that are doing a lot of the work. Where do you fit in?
Don’t feel helpless simply because you cannot be there physically. You can still be an active and integral part of the care team. Here are some productive and practical tips for offering Alzheimer’s support from afar.
Reach Out to the Care Team
It’s almost certain that your help is needed more than you know. Reach out to your loved one’s support team and let them know you’d like to help. Sometimes people are hesitant to ask. Also ask to be included in phone calls or emails so that you can keep abreast of updates on health care.
Thanks to technology, here are some of the ways that you can help out.
- Schedule doctor’s appointments
- Call on insurance claims
- Order groceries online
- Manage bank accounts
- Set up auto pay on bills
- Pay bills online or over the phone
Lend a Supportive Ear
Give attention to the primary caregiver. This is a simple but effective way to make a difference for your family. Caregivers often feel stressed, alone and misunderstood. By checking in with the caregiver regularly, you remind them that they are appreciated, valued and cared for. Also, the caregiver has the opportunity to vent their feelings without being judged.
Connect with Your Loved One
It may feel strange when a parent or grandparent can’t have the same conversations as they used to, but don’t let that stop you from connecting with them. Sadly, people often stop calling home because they feel uncomfortable with the conversation or think that their loved one won’t remember.
However, even if Grandma doesn’t know you called, hearing from you makes her happy for the moment and eases stress. When calling, remind your loved one who you are and ask easy yes/no questions. Other ways to connect includes sending cards, letters and photographs.
Living far away from a loved one with Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean you have to feel absent from their care. Ask the caregivers how you can help out and find ways to connect with your loved one. The willingness to help goes a long way in keeping family ties strong.