Long-Distance Caregiving

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It's common for families to live miles apart. Maybe your career took you to another state, or perhaps your parents decided to retire in a city with a warmer climate.

What would you do if you received a call that a loved one had fallen and broken a hip or had just been diagnosed with a serious illness? Most likely you would make a trip to insure your loved one is okay. But what happens after you leave? Who will take care of your loved one? Or maybe you are in a situation where it is impossible for you to make the trip. What do you do then?

At Visiting Health Services, we would like to offer the following tips to help make long distance caregiving easier:

Be Prepared:

Gather important information before you need it! Find out where your loved one keeps important papers like medical, financial, and legal information. Who are their physicians? What medications do they take? What type of insurance do they have? When possible, keep copies of this information handy should you need it.

Determine Needs:

If you are in a position to make the trip, then it is a perfect time to assess the needs of your loved one. But if you can't, then contact one of our Visiting Health Services advisors to get a list of local resources, hospital social service departments, or talk to a physician for recommendations on assessing the needs of your loved one.

Keep Lists:

Fumbling with phone numbers and contact information during a crisis is very stressful, so try to gather as much of this information before you need it. List the names and phone numbers of family members, friends, religious congregation members, or others who live close by and are in a position to assist you and your loved one.

Include Your Loved Ones in Decision Making:

Be respectful and always include your loved ones in making decisions as long as they are physically and mentally able to do so.

Take Care of Yourself:

Remember, you can't do it all yourself! Prioritize what needs to be done. Don't let guilt force you to take on more than you can handle. Ask for help.