Long Distance Caregiving Tips

March 12, 2015

34 million Americans care for older loved ones, 15 percent (roughly 340,000) of caregivers are long-distance. Long-distance caregivers are defined at least being an hour's drive from their loved ones. HealthinAging.org recently gathered some tips for the long-distance caregivers:


Schedule a family meeting

Gather all of your family members to discuss what each of your responsibilities will entail. 


Choose primary caregiver

The designated primary caregiver can look at big picture and determine whether their loved ones is receiving enough care. 


Share responsibilities among family members, if possible

Everyone should take turns visiting and helping with chores.


Hire a geriatric care manager

Geriatric care managers are licensed social workers or nurses who specialize in the care of older people.

They are able to evaluate your loved one's needs and manage their required services.


Look into house call services

If your loved one needs regular medical care, but is unable to visit their doctor's office, see if house call visits are available.


Ask your loved one to appoint a power of attorney

The power of attorney is the legally assigned person to make decisions on behalf of the older adult is she is unable to do so.

The power of attorney ensures that their decisions on finances, legal needs, and health care are considered. 


Ask your loved on to report any changes

Any changes in managing daily activities, for example getting in and out of a chair or bed, should be reported to the caregivers and their healthcare provider. 


Ask others of help

Ask your loved one's neighbors, friends if they can keep an eye out for your relative. Also see if any local seniors groups are available at www.eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116


Use an Emergency Call Button or a specialized phone

Use anything that your loved one can use to contact a caregiver in the event of an accident.


Have someone check food storage areas

The kitchen, refrigerator, freezer, and pantry should be double checked to ensure all the foods are not expired.


Remember to take care of yourself

Caregiving at times can be quite demanding. But, long distance caregiving can present increased caregivers.  


 For further caregiving resources please visit the American Geriatrics Society's Health in Aging Foundation's website www.healthinaging.org or Live Oak's Caregiving Resource section. 

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