Caregiving from a Distance




Realizing that your aging parents need special care can be a challenge for anyone. But it is particularly difficult for adult children who live far from their parents’ home. Nearly seven million Americans are responsible for the care of an older relative or friend who lives an average of 300 miles away. This number is expected to climb as the population continues to age.

Caring for an aging parent is stressful, and can lead to feelings of worry and guilt. There are some strategies for dealing with this situation. Consider the following options:

- Keep in touch with your parents’ doctors, either by phone or through email. Ask questions that enable you to understand what treatment they are receiving, what alternatives may exist, and what type of assistance your parents may need.

- Explore the options available for live-in or long-term care. Adult day health care may also be another option. Contact Meals on Wheels to see if your parents qualify for assistance.

- Consider hiring a geriatric care manager (GCM). GCMs work as part of a team that includes social workers, counselors, nurses, and your parents’ doctors. This is often covered by insurance.

- Before a crisis occurs, work with your parents to collect the necessary medical, financial, and legal information you may need to help properly care for them. Make a list of family, friends, and clergy who live near your parents to assist in the case of an emergency.

- Join a support group for caregivers in your area. Not only will you receive support, but you will also learn about the aging process and can share in resources.

- If your parents have a family member near by providing them with assistance, be sure to offer support to that person as well. He or she often bears the brunt of the stress and physical support needed to care for your parents.


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