Being There Even When You’re Away: Long Distance Caregiving

Make a Long Distance Caregiving Plan Today

You care not alone, according to the AARP, at least 1 in 10 family caregivers live at least an hour away from their aging or ailing family member, and many are tending to a loved one from a distance of hundreds of miles.

Long-distance caregivers have the same concerns and pressures as local caregivers, and then some. For example, they spend nearly twice as much on caregiving as do people caring for a loved one close by because they’re more likely to need to hire help, take uncompensated time off work and pay for travel.

Home Care Associates can help ease the worries faced by long distance caregivers. Let’s explore the ways you can rely on professional caregivers for your senior family member.

Keep Information Flowing

Having good information channels and legal authority to make financial and health-care decisions is important for all primary caregivers, but it’s even more so for those handling care from a distance. Try to arrange as much as possible during an in-person visit, when you can work with your loved one to locate, organize and fill out necessary paperwork.

Ask whether your loved one can sign the forms or make the calls necessary to give doctors, hospitals and insurers permission to share information with you or another trusted family member. Don’t forget things like banks and utilities. You may end up becoming the bill payer.

The Money Talk

Start the money conversation. Discussing finances is often difficult, but you need to get the lay of the land. Devise a plan with your loved one for how to pay for health care and everyday expenses. Consider how much is on hand in savings and investments, the size of major payments such as housing, and whether your loved one has long-term care insurance.

Monitor the Situation

It’s crucial to watch for any changes in needs and abilities. You’ll assess when you visit, but enlist your local caregiving team to watch for red flags, such as significant weight loss or gain, mail piling up, a dangerously cluttered house, car accidents, decreased personal care, repeated falling or increased isolation. Make sure the individual is getting the care you expect, and adjust your caregiving plan, increasing support as needed.

You Need a Team

While you can handle plenty of important tasks remotely, such as paying bills and ordering prescriptions, you’ll need others to be your eyes, ears and sometimes hands. It’s natural for long-distance caregivers to feel guilty about delegating certain jobs, but don’t try to do it all, especially if your loved one has more serious or complicated health issues.

Professionals, like the team at Home Care Associates, are an important first step, but also reach out to friends, family and community groups to form a network of caregiving helpmates. Ask what tasks, large or small, team members are willing and able to do. A neighbor might be happy to cut the lawn. Another family member might volunteer to drive to doctor appointments.

The best option is often to hire a reputable caregiving professional, that is where Home Care Associates comes in! Remember to look for professional certifications, experience, and personality. At Home Care Associates, we strive to be part of your team. Our Home Care Associates professionals are eager to take the burden off your shoulders and work towards solutions that fit your family. Contact us today with any questions.