Tips for long-distance caregivers

BHC long distance care full.jpgWith families being more far-flung and mobile than ever before, it's not unexpected that some caregivers are going to have to participate and offer support from afar.

It can be a challenging role to manage. The long-distance caregiver may feel guilty about being away from day-to-day responsibilities. Caregivers who are close and supporting the loved one every day may feel resentful about the long-distance caregiver's limited role, and the constraints care can place on regular daily life.

But there are ways to manage long-distance caregiving duties, so everyone on the team can feel as though their input is valued and their efforts are appreciated.

Define caregiving roles. Getting everyone on the same page will get you off to a smooth start. By setting up roles, you can reduce duplicated efforts and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks. Talk to the primary caregiver and your loved one about how you can be most helpful, what is difficult for them to manage and what you can do, realistically, from a distance.

While they can't be there for hands-on care every day, the long-distance caregiver can manage finances, help coordinate professional services, take care of insurance issues or other more administrative tasks that don't require them to be "on site."

Long-distance caregivers should also realize the value of emotional support. This can mean being encouraging and appreciative of the primary caregiver, or just letting them vent. It can also be of great help to maintain regular, attentive conversations with the loved one who is receiving care. When your loved one has multiple outlets for communication, it can help take that stress off of the primary caregiver.

When you can visit and take on some of the day-to-day care, coordinate your visit with the needs and schedule of the local primary caregiver. There may be times when they need time away for their life events, or when they need a break to tend to their daily lives. Ask how you can be helpful during your stay, and offer respite.

Someone on the caregiver team should be the "point person" for communications with doctors and other medical professionals. By designating one person, everyone can stay on the same page, and your health professionals will not get bogged down with calls from ten different family members asking for updates. Because of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the designated person may need to get written permission to receive the loved one's medical and financial information.

It's also essential for a long-distance caregiver to learn what they can about the loved one's condition and any treatment so they can prepare for changing needs and treatment.

Few things are more stressful than having to be away from a family member when they are ill, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic or life-limiting disease.

Belvedere Home Care caregivers not only provide expert and compassionate care for your loved one; they will give distant family members with reports and updates on the client's condition and progress.

Our caregivers communicate with the client's health team not only to be fully prepared for every aspect of care but also to keep families fully informed on a regular, ongoing basis.

For more information about how Belvedere Home Care can help you manage care for your loved one no matter where you are, contact us at (518) 694-9400 Option 4 or