What is a long-distance caregiver? According to the National Institute on Aging, a long-distance caregiver is someone who lives an hour or more away from a person who needs care. This kind of care can range from helping with money management, to arranging for in-home care, to planning for emergencies.
Living far away from older family members can be complicated when it comes to their care. Are they taking their medicine as prescribed, eating well, or getting social interaction which is crucial to their mental health? Long-distance caregiving requires more than a weekly phone call or an occasional visit. While long-distance caregiving may pose unique challenges for families, there are a number of ways to stay connected.
Caring is never simple, fortunately, there are plenty of ways to tend to a parent or other family from afar.
• Find a point of contact person: someone who can check-in if there is an emergency. The person could be a neighbor, a friend, or a home care aide.
• Gain permission to obtain information on health care, financials, and legal matters.
• Embrace technology – order groceries from Amazon, help refill medications, hire housecleaners, or even book an Uber to take Mom to her bingo game.
• Create a notebook to store information about online accounts, insurance information, phone numbers for medical professions, etc.
• Book trips in advance to meet with the loved one’s doctors, therapists, dentists, and anyone else.
Providing long-distance caregiving can feel overwhelming at times. Long-distance caregiving is possible when a plan is in place and family members or friends can step in and assist with the care. Be prepared for the unexpected and always have a plan B in place.