If you become a caregiver to an aging parent or relative you will find that one of the most difficult parts of that role is trying to keep up with everything – your own personal life and the needs of your loved ones. This can be made even more difficult if you are involved in a long distance caregiving situation. While it may seem overwhelming, and it will be at times, being organized will make the situation less stressful.
When you’re in the role of caregiver you are not only involved in the care of a relative but you are also likely going to be expected to keep the rest of the family and friends apprised of what is happening. How can you be expected to juggle all of the balls that will be tossed your way? Here are some web-based tools and technologies that can help:
- Using a checklist or marking items on a calendar are certainly good ways to keep yourself on track with the tasks that need your attention. You may also need to find electronic means to do this as well, especially if you’re looking to friends and family members to help with some of the caregiving chores such as buying groceries or taking your parents to doctor’s visits.
- Consider conference calls as a way to keep in touch with family members as it’s a great way to get everyone on the phone at the same time to discuss concerns or to merely catch everybody up on what’s been going on with your loved ones. A conference call is much better, and much easier to coordinate, than to make individual phone calls and it also keeps everyone on the same page as to what’s going on and what needs to happen.
- Consider setting up a blog page as a way to share photos between family members and to keep your elderly relatives involved in what’s going on with the children and grandchildren. You can upload photos and brief blurbs of what is happening in everyone’s lives. If your relatives aren’t tech savvy the caregiver can spend some time with them getting them online and letting them read what’s going on in the family.
- Social media pages are also great, free, ways to stay in touch. You can set up a private group within Facebook and it can be a spot (in case you don’t want to set up a blog) where photos can be uploaded and you can share status updates with the family. It’s a great, all in one location, in which everyone can interact.
- If your relatives are tech-savvy enough, or if they’re not, you can help them when you’re there on a visit, set up a webcam and have video chats with other family members. Webcam chats are a great way to let your elderly family members feel closer to everyone because they will be able to have face-to-face interaction. Imagine if the family lives out of town and you (as the caregiver) live in the same area as your aging parents you could feel as if you were part of family parties and holidays through the use of a webcam.
Keeping all family members involved in the ongoing conversation of the care of aging relatives helps to relieve caregiver stress as well as keeping everyone in touch. Technologies can also help your relatives age in place, especially if they are tech-savvy, as the internet can make them feel more connected and less alone.