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Long-distance caregiving

Tips for caring for a loved one when you don't live close by.

September 25, 2018

Long-distance caregiving

Not every caregiver lives close by. For some, hundreds of miles can separate them from their loved one.

It’s certainly not an ideal situation — but it’s not an impossible one. It’s easy to feel as if there is nothing you can do when you’re not close by, however the truth is that you can make a difference no matter the distance.

How to help aging loved ones from afar

Arrange for visits from those who live nearby

This is not a luxury that every long-distance caregiver is going to have, but if your loved one is fortunate enough to live near any friends or family within driving distance, try to reach out to them and arrange for them to spend some time with your loved one.

It’s common for seniors to struggle with loneliness, especially when living alone, so creating opportunities for them to have social interactions with family and friends could lift their spirits and have a positive impact on their general well-being.

Line up a meal delivery service to provide for their nutrition

If your elderly loved one is living alone, it’s important to ensure that they are eating well. When cooking meals at home becomes more of a chore than a comfort, it can open the door to neglecting their nutrition, having an adverse effect on their health.

Meal delivery services are a convenient alternative that allow you to choose a variety of chef-designed meals for your loved one and have them shipped directly to their home. These meals come fully-prepared and can be stored in the refrigerator until it comes time for breakfast, lunch or dinner, at which point all they need is a couple minutes in the microwave.

Identify the local emergency assistance providers

It would be beneficial to familiarize yourself with the local resources available to your loved one. Keep a list of contact information for the emergency assistance providers, especially, in the event that your loved one reaches out to you for help or if you fear something has happened and you’d like for a paramedic or another trained professional to check on them.

And if you are alerted that your loved one is with emergency assistance providers, you’ll know who to communicate with for more updates or information.

Call regularly to maintain an emotional connection

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” before.

Well, if that applies to your own personal situation, it’s important to convey that to your loved one. There are a number of ways to maintain regular contact with them — depending on how tech savvy your loved one may be — including phone calls, text messages, and video chats.

Technology has made it possible to maintain relationships that span the globe, so use those tools to show you’re still part of their life — even at a distance.