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Aging Family Services - Long Distance Caregiving

Long Distance Caregiving

By Cheryl Theriault

What do you do when you live hundreds (or thousands) of miles away from your aging parents but you're concerned about their ability to safely live alone?

It's a dilemma experienced by people all over the country every day. And there are no easy or fast answers.

The following suggestions may help as you work your way through this tough time.

  • Consider all the options before moving your relative.
    In-home services may permit them to remain in their home, close to neighbors and friends.

  • Go visit.
    Take note of possible problem areas such as nutrition, safety, driving ability, medications, finances and physical or emotional illness.

  • Get paperwork and affairs in order.
    Make sure legal and financial affairs are in place and up to date, and that you know where to locate critical documents and papers.

    To request a free checklist that will help you gather all the important contact information, paperwork and legal documentation you'll need as a long-distance caregiver -- send us an e-mail

  • Set up a support system.
    Ask friends and relatives to check in with your parent on a regular basis. If that is not adequate, you may need to hire someone to help your family member with meals and personal care.

  • Recognize and acknowledge your own limits.
    As your relative requires increasing levels of care, you may become overwhelmed. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager to coordinate your family member's care.

  • Plan for time off work.
    Plan ahead to have family leave or personal days available in case you need to make an unexpected visit to your relative. Put aside money in a special fund to pay for such trips.

Aging Family Services can help you understand all the options and issues you'll need to evaluate in your new role as a long-distance caregiver. We can even help coordinate some out of town services and put you in contact with local agencies in your parents' area.

Aging Family Services
4812 Six Forks Rd. Suite #110 Raleigh, NC 27609 ~ (919)-781-5979