What You Can Do as a Long-Distance Caregiver


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More and more, as families spread out geographically, younger generations are faced with taking care of older loved ones from a distance.  Anyone, anywhere, can be a long-distance caregiver, no matter your gender, income, age, social status, or employment. If you are living an hour or more away from a person who needs your help, you're probably a long-distance caregiver.

What can you really do from far away?

Long-distance caregivers take on different roles. You may:

  • Help with finances, money management, or bill paying
  • Arrange for in-home care—hire professional caregivers or home health or nursing aides and help get needed durable medical equipment
  • Locate care in an assisted living facility or nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility)
  • Provide emotional support and occasional respite care for a primary caregiver, the person who takes on most of the everyday caregiving responsibilities
  • Serve as an information coordinator—research health problems or medicines, help navigate through a maze of new needs, and clarify insurance benefits and claims
  • Keep family and friends updated and informed
  • Create a plan and get paperwork in order in case of an emergency
  • Evaluate the house and make sure it's safe for the older person's needs

Over time, as your family member's needs change, so will your role as long-distance caregiver.

If you're new to long-distance caregiving, here are a few tips as to what you can do to get started:

  • Ask the primary caregiver, if there is one, and the care recipient how you can be most helpful
  • Talk to friends who are caregivers to see if they have suggestions about ways to help
  • Find out more about local resources that might be useful
  • Develop a good understanding of the person's health issues and other needs
  • Visit as often as you can; not only might you notice something that needs to be done and can be taken care of from a distance, but you can also relieve a primary caregiver for a short time.

Many of us don't automatically have a lot of caregiver skills. Information about training opportunities is available. Some local chapters of the American Red Cross might offer courses, as do some nonprofit organizations focused on caregiving. Medicare and Medicaid will sometimes pay for this training. See Where can I find local resources for my family member? to find local services for older adults and their families.

Home Instead Senior Care is a locally owned business. We offer friendly, responsive service where you are, and we're dedicated to making our community a better place to live for seniors and their families. We are part of one of the most highly regarded home care companies in the United States, backed by more than 20 years of experience.  We ensure quality of care first through our unique CAREGiverSM training program. This comprehensive educational experience equips our CAREGivers to provide ethical and individualized care to every person they serve.  Call us to schedule a no-obligation in-home consultation to learn more about the compassionate, quality care we deliver each day to Allentown and Lehigh County area families: (610) 628-4211 or visit https://www.homeinstead.com/217 .


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