LONG DISTANCE CARING – 5 Crucial Tips That Can Make A Difference


Concern about mom or dad’s health and well-being is top of mind for many baby boomers today. Worrisome signs of your parent’s frailty, progressive memory loss or the decline in health require more and more of your help and attention. But what if you live a good distance away? Whether you live an hour away, in a different state, or maybe even in another country, caregiving at a distance presents very real challenges.

No longer just a devoted daughter or son, you’re now what the professionals in the aging field call a “long-distance caregiver.” Thrust into what is often a new world of intricate responsibilities, you may find it hard to see the personal rewards ahead. But they are there, as is the help available to assist you on this caregiving journey.

  • Communicate: As much as possible, involve the one who needs care in any decision making process, especially those related to care and housing. Be sure to listen to his or her expressed preferences and respect their known values, even when these differ from yours. Instructions to paid caregivers should be in writing.
  • Learn what help is available: Educate yourself on the care and services available. Although every area is unique in the type of services that are offered, similar kinds of services are found throughout the U.S. (e.g. adult day care, home care, case management, etc.). Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 can direct you to the Area Agency on Aging appropriate for your parent(s). FCA’s Family Care Navigator offers a state-by-state searchable database to help you locate help in your state.
  • Taking care: Take care of yourself. Caregiving can be stressful. Create a support network for yourself. Talk with friends and family. Allow yourself to hire help or involve other family members. Trying to do it all yourself is not healthy for you or your loved one.
  • Changing needs: Understand that care needs will change over time; it’s not too early to think about possible future needs. Once you locate resources, speak to a social worker who has experience in planning for eldercare. There are many options to be considered, and you’ll want to make informed, well-thought-out decisions about your parent’s care.

The sudden realization of your new role as a caregiver is likely to be stressful. How can you be both a caring daughter or son and the coordinator of a multitude of tasks required when taking on the day-to-day responsibilities of a loved one? You may feel overwhelmed and isolated. In reality, you have lots of company. Approximately 76 million of us are baby boomers, many with parents who are approaching a time in their life that will require aid and assistance. We know that an estimated 43.5 million Americans provide or manage care for a relative or friend 50+ years or older. And this number is growing every day.

The good news is that with so many of us involved in care from a distance, there’s lots of information to help.

a son talking to his parent through web cam

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