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Tips to help a long-distance caregiver

July 7th, 2014

A long distance caregiver faces so many challenges. Something as simple as a time zone difference can make organization of appointments difficult. Long distance caregivers often wonder how their loved one’s health is and they must rely on the self-reporting of the senior which may not always be accurate due to the senior’s cognitive deficits. Additionally, a long distance caregiver rarely has the opportunity to attend a medical appointment. I find that long distance caregivers feel a significant amount of stress due to the inability to be physically present to drop in on their loved one on a regular basis in order to get an idea of how the senior’s environment is. A long distance caregiver may wonder, “Is my mom taking her medication?” “Is her house clean?” “Does she have enough food in the refrigerator?” “Is she showering?” None of these questions can be resolved without a visit. Also, when a long distance caregiver calls a senior and there is no answer for several hours or even days, how can they be sure their loved one is not lying on the floor in pain?

Once again the National Institute of Health has produced a wonderful resource to assist families who care for a senior from a distance. Please visit their site at http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/so-far-away-twenty-questions-and-answers-about-long-distance-caregiving?utm_source=20140707_SoFarAway&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ealert and download their free booklet which offers guides to assist the caregiver.  You can also visit www.ericksonresource.com/worksheets to find other tools that caregivers (long-distance and local) can use to help to find, evaluate, find and organize resources, appointments, financial affairs, communication with professionals and more.

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