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10 Tips for Long-Distance Caregiving

10 smart strategies and resources for long-distance caregiving help you support and care for your loved ones

Long-distance caregiving can be challenging. All Home Care Matters shares 10 top strategies to help you support your older adult from afar.

Caring for an older adult from a distance can be a bit intimidating.

You might be asking yourself questions like, “How can I possibly be involved when I’m not in the area?” or “Will I be able to care for them properly when I’m so far away?”

Long-distance caregiving has unique challenges, but with 10 smart strategies and resources, you can offer the support and care that your loved ones need, no matter how far away you live.

Your efforts, no matter the distance, truly make a difference in their lives.


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1. Get familiar with your role

If you’re new to the long-distance caregiver role, it’s helpful to get familiar with common responsibilities as soon as possible.

This means doing some research to learn about caregiving in general, talking with family members to find out how they might be able to help, and putting together an action plan.

Being a caregiver of any kind is not easy, it requires planning and preparation. Set yourself up for success by learning the ins and outs of the process.

2. Make communication as easy as possible

Long-distance caregiving requires a certain level of communication in order to be truly effective. 

Because you can’t just stop by at the drop of a dime, you need to have strategic systems set up in order to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Regular check-ins with your loved one and the primary on-site caregiver help you stay informed about their needs and any changes in their condition.

3. Build a network of support

You’re not alone in this, even if it might feel that way at times. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to neighbors, family, friends, and other sources of support who live near your loved one as well. 

This way, you have reliable people to reach out to if needed when you’re unable to physically be there.


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4. Get important paperwork in order

Organizing essential paperwork is an extremely helpful task, especially for those who are unable to do it themselves.

At your older adult’s place, put essential information like medical records, emergency contacts, medication lists, healthcare provider details, and key legal documents into one accessible place.

Be sure to also keep copies for yourself so you can reference the documents if you need to manage care activities long distance.

Digital tools like shared cloud folders or apps designed for caregiving can also help you keep other parties involved updated on crucial information.

5. Get to know their healthcare team

Get to know your older adult’s local healthcare professionals. Forming relationships can help ease some of the worry.

Having relationships with their healthcare team can help you stay in the loop and feel comfortable reaching out if something feels off.

6. Look into home care services

Depending on your loved one’s needs, you may want to research local home care services.

Even if home care isn’t needed right now, knowing what’s available and how things work gives you options for when things change.

Home care is a huge help for long-distance caregivers because they can assist with daily activities like meal preparation, medication reminders, errand running, and housekeeping.

They can give you peace of mind that your loved one is safe and their needs are being met.

7. Be intentional with your visits

While in-person visits will be less frequent due to the distance between you, you can make the most of your time together when you have the opportunity to visit.

Even though your current role might include being their family caregiver, remember that you have a relationship outside of that too.

Rather than making visits all about care logistics, take some time to make memories and enjoy the time you have together.

Then during free moments, assess the situation and note any adjustments to the care plan that are needed.

8. Set them up for success

If your older adult doesn’t have many people nearby to rely on or socialize with, they might start to feel isolated or lonely.

Help them connect with others so they feel included.

Make sure their phone is easy to use and set up a way for them to video chat, like a simple tablet or laptop. (Get our recommendations for senior-friendly tech devices for keeping in touch here.)

Currently, only 61% of adults 65 and over own a cellphone. This leaves a large group that is missing out on this source of connection.

When you are with them, teach them to use their devices so they can feel even more confident using the tools themselves.

9. Be mindful of your own limits

Long-distance caregiving can be emotionally and mentally draining. It’s important to recognize your own limits and avoid burnout.

Do your best to maintain a balance between your caregiving responsibilities and the rest of your life.

To manage the stress, consider seeking support from counseling services, support groups, or therapists.

10. Stay in the know

Stay up-to-date on your loved one’s medical conditions and any new developments by staying in touch with their healthcare team and local caregivers.

Knowledge is power, and being in the know can help you make informed care decisions and provide better support.

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Guest contributor: Whether you’re a caregiver looking to enhance your knowledge and skills or simply seeking to learn more about dementia home care, All Home Care Matters offers a must-listen podcast and YouTube channel. By subscribing to the show, you will gain access to a wealth of information and tips that can help you provide the best possible care for your loved one. Find us on Apple podcasts or on YouTube.

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.

 

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