Supporting Family Members When Living Away

​When a family member or close friend needs some level of care and support, the decision is an important one. It can also be difficult to know who to speak with or the where to start to make arrangements.   This article covers some helpful points for those living a distance from family members who may require some level of support. It does not go into specifics, however provides some detail on safeguards which are helpful to put in place.

22/05/2019

​When a family member or close friend needs some level of care and support, the decision is an important one. It can also be difficult to know who to speak with or the where to start to make arrangements.   This article covers some helpful points for those living a distance from family members who may require some level of support. It does not go into specifics, however provides some detail on safeguards which are helpful to put in place.

When a family member or close friend needs some level of care and support, the decision is an important one. It can also be difficult to know who to speak with or the where to start to make arrangements.
 
This article covers some helpful points for those living a distance from family members who may require some level of support. It does not go into specifics, however provides some detail on safeguards which are helpful to put in place.
 
The first important point to consider is that the support provided needs to be just right for that individual and arranged the way they want it. Care arrangements must also provide peace of mind in order that family members and close friends with may continue their lives without undue concern.
 
In addition, there are times when a family member may be working or living a considerable distance from the one they are responsible for. A further challenge is presented where family members are living – or working – abroad and unable to easily return to put arrangements in place.
 
With families spread over a fairly wide area, the question arises about the best way to make care arrangements. Those that are just right and with a provider who can be trusted to give the absolute best to the people we love dearly.
 
An important place to start is planning - particularly where family members may not be able to visit on a regular basis. Planning is important, because all too often care is arranged at crisis point. The right planning can help prevent this and take away the stresses that can sometimes go with making last minute care arrangements.
 
Planning starts with a conversation. Talk about if additional support is needed, how would the person you have responsibility for like it to be arranged in your absence and what (if any) safeguards should be put in place to support their wellbeing in the present.
 
Something helpful to consider is making sure that those we have responsibility for have people around who can look out for them. This may be a neighbor, friend or local community group who get in touch informally for a cup of tea and chat whilst also keeping an eye out for that person’s wellbeing.
 
This type of informal support can help raise flags such that can indicate when perhaps more professional support is required.
 
There is also a range of providers who can put in place ‘wellbeing’ or ‘social’ visits where professional Care Workers (in plain clothes) can visit for a cup of tea and look out for the individual’s wellbeing.
 
Alternatively, they could pop in once a week to carry out some domestic tasks such as cleaning or you could arrange for trips to a local day centre where a range of helpful services are available.
 
As well as giving peace of mind that a professional organisation is keeping an eye out in your absence, this is a good way to introduce the idea of some having someone there to help out.
 
With this approach, when additional care arrangements are needed a professional provider can advise and support you in putting the right additional care into place.
 
Also, when care arrangements are needed, the Local Authority has a duty to make sure that care is put in place – even if they are not paying for it – so it is worth speaking with them. Particularly if there is a degree of urgency.
 
The important thing to take into account whatever arrangements you put in place is that the person / persons or provider you put in place are those who you trust to support in the best way possible.
 
With individuals, this comes out of relationships that already exist. With providers, remember to look at their most recent Care Quality Commission inspection report, customer reviews, approach and work in the local community – having a local office is also an important factor.
 
Finally, good communication between you as a family member and those providing support is critical. With those you trust, this is easier – with a provider, you should be able to speak over email, Skype or phone.