My mother lives in another state over 1000 miles away. My sister lives closest to her and provides most of the caregiving needs, but she is still a 3 hour drive from Mom. How can I support my sister in her caregiving role? What should we have in place in case there is an emergency and mom needs immediate attention?
I have several suggestions - the first and foremost is to express appreciation for her time and concern for your mother - that you understand the commitment your sister has made. Then there may be ways to task on some of the tasks on a regular basis that your sister is doing now. Tasks such as ordering groceries on line; paying bills; reconciling the medical insurance claims; calling your mother on a regular scheduled basis to name a few. Also, try to coordinate your extended visits to your mother when your sister can take time off from caregiving and get away - even if it means not having to leave her home!
Now the question about emergency plans: Is there a trusted neighbor, a family friend? Someone who is able and willing to go to your mother's home, someone your mother agrees to and trusts, to check on her if for some reason she doesn't answer the phone in a timely fashion. Also, with your mother's persmission, everyone in the family or involved in her care should have the name and phone number of her doctors, a current list of her medications, heath insurance information and how to contact emergency personnel in the area. You might also want to consider a personal emergency response system that your mother can activate in an emergency.