Six Tips for Long-Distance Caregiving
Anyone who is caring for a friend, relative or parent from far away can be considered a long-distanced caregiver. Whether you are helping with finances, arranging for care, or providing emotional support, long-distance caregiving can bring a host of unique challenges.
Keep these tips in mind to help make life more manageable.
- Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s health, treatments and available caregiving resources. You can understand what is going on, anticipate the course of an illness, prevent crises, and assist in healthcare management.
- Organize important paperwork. Keep all vital information in one place and up-to-date, including healthcare documents, wills and financial information. Provide copies to other caregivers.
- Make sure at least one caregiver has written permission to receive medical and financial information. To the extent possible, one person should handle conversations with all healthcare providers.
- Plan your visits. Find out in advance what the person would like to do. Aim for simple and relaxing activities. And check with the primary caregiver to see if you can help with any priority tasks.
- Stay connected. Schedule calls with healthcare providers and facility staff to discuss the person’s well-being. Update trusted family members on your loved one’s health and needs.
- Consider caregiver training. Some local chapters of the American Red Cross or other not-for-profit organizations might offer caregiving courses. Medicare and Medicaid will sometimes cover the cost of this training.