A 2012 study by the Alzheimer’s Association found that around 15 million caregivers in the U.S. provided more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care–valued at $216 billion.Â Dividing caregiving responsibilities among family members has become increasingly more difficult, as modern day families are decidedly smaller and more spread outÂ geographically than in generations past.
Many of these long-distance caregivers must provide several years’ worth of limited care to loved ones from hundreds of miles away–not an easy task. In another light, a family member who lives nearby and is able to provide direct care to his or loved one may feel isolated, as other family members don’t understand or see the day-to-day effects a debilitating illness is having on their aging parent, let alone the stress wrought on the shoulders of the person providing the care.
To help long-distance caregivers stay better involved with the direct care provider, a recent article from the Huffington Post offers the following tips:
- Take to heart that the job of a distance caregiver is to ease the burden on the direct caregiver and help the ailing senior feel at ease.
- Set a schedule to call the caregiver directly and stick to it. Ask the caregiver to help answer any questions you might have regarding your loved one’s condition and care. Empathize with the direct caregiver, using phrases likeÂ “This must be difficult for you,” “You must be tired (frustrated, etc.),” and “What do you want to do about that?”
- Request copies of medical reports. This will help you better understand the person’s condition.
- Become knowledgeable about your loved one’s condition (e.g., read the latest information on Alzheimer’s) to keep yourself in the know.
- Inquire about the direct caregiver’s health. Ask them if they are able to get out from time to time.
- Offer to contact a local senior care provider to see how their services (respite care, day programs, etc.) can help.
- Offer to trade places for a few days every few months. This will give the direct caregiver a much needed break.
- Remember the important milestones in the caregiver’s life, as birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days can be difficult for many caregivers.
Are there any other tips you’ve found to be helpful in keeping up with long-distance caregiving duties? Let us know on TwitterÂ or in the comments.
Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clickingÂ hereÂ . OrÂ contact usÂ for a free consultation or just to say hello!
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