Living hundreds of miles away from a family member who needs care can be tough, but it can be done. Being a long distance caregiver is usually more stressful than living near a loved one. Knowing you can’t just pop in quick to check on your loved one causes you to worry more and often trigger feelings of guilt.
Having a support system and help from those who can be your eyes and ears is important to relieve some of the stress and worry. Set up a team including other family members, friends, neighbors, and a nurse or social worker who can be there physically to assist your loved one. This is often where guilt tends to creep in but just because you are not physically there to provide care, your role as caregiver manager is just as important.
Meet face to face with those providing immediate care to your loved one and get to know them. Keep in contact regularly with the caregivers, neighbors, friends and other family members and get their perspective on how your loved one is doing. Your loved one is more likely to receive better care when there is constant communication and they know that you are interested and involved. Schedule regular conference calls to discuss the health and other daily affairs of your loved one.
It’s important to have a plan in place so the affairs of your loved one remain organized and on schedule such as doctor’s appointments and bills getting paid. Have an emergency plan in place with everyone knowing the part they will play.
Living far away makes it hard to spend time with a loved one but you can set up weekly phone dates to stay in touch. Share something going on in your life and even ask their opinion about something. This helps them to feel that they are a part of your life.
When providing care to a loved one long distance, trust plays a big part. If you don’t have people who genuinely care and communicate with you, then you will begin to worry constantly. It’s important to surround your loved one with those you can trust and rely on to perform to the best of their ability and keep you informed willingly.
Being a long distance caregiver, you will be faced with challenges that someone living in close proximity to their loved one wouldn’t have. However, with the right support it can be done.