Providing care for a loved one that is not close to home can be difficult. Fortunately, long-distance caregiving is not unusual and there are plenty of options to help care for those who live far away. Before considering what options are best for the loved one that requires care, we need to establish what long-distance caregiving is.
What is long-distance caregiving?
It could be…
- Helping a family member through their medical bills.
- Trying to decide how to make the most of a short weekend visit with mom.
- Hiring and checking references of an aid that’s helping your grandfather.
- Taking off the pressure of your sister who lives in the same town as both your aging parents and her aging in-laws.
- Setting up in-home care for your elderly parents.
- Ensuring that grocery shopping gets done on a weekly basis for your aging mother.
Living far from an aging family member can be a daunting task. Instead of overwhelming yourself and her, recognize and acknowledge your own limits. Consider all options before moving your loved one. Moving at an elderly age is disruptive and many times unnecessary. Generally, there are better ways to manage long-distance caregiving without having to disrupt their lives.
Ways to manage long-distance caregiving
- Consider hiring a geriatric care manager to coordinate your family member’s care.
- Plan ahead to have family leave or personal days available in the event an unexpected visit is required.
- Set aside money in a special fund to help pay for the unexpected visits. Last-minute flights can be rather expensive but having a fund set aside helps offset the expense.
- Speak with the geriatric care manager on a weekly basis to get an update on your family member’s condition.
Unexpected visits to your family member or hiring a care manager may not be in your budget. When that is the case, a support system should be put in place for your loved one that is living far from you.
Set up a support system
- Ask a friend or relative living close by to check in with your parent on a regular basis.
- Have a friend or relative go grocery shopping for your parent or loved one.
- Check a local pharmacy about delivering prescriptions. Many places offer this free option to the sick and elderly.
Long-distance caregiving is possible when a plan is in place and family members or friends can step in and assist with the care-taking Be prepared for the unexpected and always have a plan b in place.