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Long Distance Caregiving

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Caring for a loved one is always stressful but the stress is multiplied when you live far away. There are a number of things you can do to care for your loved one from afar but most people use one of these three main strategies.

First, you can move closer to your loved one. If you aren’t tied to a job or the local community where you live it may be possible to move closer to your loved one.  In reality, however, given the lives that people live this doesn’t happen all too often.

Second, you can move your loved one closer to you.  This actually happens a lot. People will explore care options close to them – whether it’s moving their loved one in with them, finding an independent living option or a higher level of care like a local assisted living or nursing home.  Of course, this either requires your loved one to agree to the move or – if they don’t have the capacity to express an opinion – you can make the decision for them.

Third, you can do your best to care for them from far away.  This is a good option if you are both tied to your location for whatever reason.  It is possible to do a great job caring for them from far away. In order to get the best result possible you need eyes and ears local to your loved one.  This can be done with the help of a family member or a friend if someone is available to assist or a professional caregiver (i.e. a geriatric care manager or an elder care social worker) if no one else can help.

If you are getting help from a family member or friend you will probably have to come to the area to help find appropriate care and get your loved one set up.  If you can’t come home or need help planning their care then an elder care social worker can help you. They can arrange for care in the house – if staying home is appropriate – or assist with finding an assisted living or nursing home if that type of care is needed.  Then, once you’ve left to go back home they can continue to look in on and advocate for your loved one. Most people use the help of someone local – often an elder care social worker – if they are caring for their loved one from afar. I have personally seen this scenario play out many times and it is often extremely successful.

If you’re trying to care for your loved one from far away I hope this helps.

Thanks so much and all the best!

Casey

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for The Stressed Out Caregiver Support Group on Facebook.  There you can ask questions about caring for your loved one and share tips and strategies with other members looking for help.  Here’s the link so you can sign up: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thestressedoutcaregiversupportgroup/?ref=bookmarks. I’ll see you there.

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