How to Get to Know Your Loved One’s Neighbors

How to Get to Know Your Loved One’s Neighbors

Being a long-distance caregiver poses many challenges. You want to be close to keep an eye on your loved one, but that isn’t always possible. No matter how far away you are, there are ways you can help ensure that your loved one is well looked after.

Getting to Know Them

It’s best to meet your loved one’s neighbors physically before asking them for favors. If you are planning to visit your loved one, and need a way to introduce yourself, write an introductory letter in advance. Give them a bit of information about yourself while seeing if they are amenable to meeting. Invite them out for a cup of coffee as a chance to get to know them. Bring your loved one along so everyone can meet, as you want them to be involved. Hopefully, these neighbors will be willing to check in on them every now and again, after all. Don’t just stop with neighbors, however. Talk to nearby resources, such as doctors, gardeners, or any other service your loved one frequents. These all can be excellent ways for you to make sure your family member is well looked after.

Get the Right Info

One thing to be sure of when you do speak to your contacts is to get the right information. Phone numbers to assemble into a phone tree, emails and Skype or Facetime information are all useful. Make sure this information is easily accessible. By keeping a copy of the list on your phone as well as in your phone book, you know that you will be able to reach it no matter where you are. You will want to have your loved one’s information in multiple places too, just in case. This includes their health insurance information; their hospital name and points of contact; medication they may be taking; and even what place of worship they attend. By having this all ready, you can be prepared for any questions or events that arise. This way, if one of your contacts back with your loved one needs information, and quickly, you can provide it.

Be Specific

Once you have made contact with your neighbors, taken them out for a coffee when visiting, and gotten to know them, you will want to broach the subject of being able to ask them to go check on your loved one. When you do so, don’t have vague requests. “Checking up” may sound good, but what does it mean? Have a list of specific things you may ask of them, such as seeing if your loved one has a well-stocked fridge; how clean the home is; or whatever needs are specific to you. Any family members or trusted friends who are closer can double check with your loved one to see if bills are being handled well, or you can share their login information and see online for yourself. Simply put, just ensure that you have precise instructions and requests for those who will be helping.

No Neighbor? No Problem

Unfortunately, not everyone has neighbors who are willing, or close enough, to actually pop by your loved one’s home for you. In such cases, you need to decide how you will monitor your family member’s situation. One such way is to find a reliable roommate to not only provide a bit of extra income for your loved one, but to be a touchstone for you to make sure they are seen to. They could alert you to any issues that arise with your loved one. You could also get in touch with their specific religious or community center and ask them to send you updates. If no such community is available, you can contact specific nursing centers that specialize in checking on people in remote areas.

We may all want to be nearer to our loved ones, but that is not always feasible. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be active in their life, and make sure their needs are met. Introduce yourself to the neighbors, stay in contact with close family and friends, or even get them a trustworthy roommate. In the digital age, much is possible.

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