These days, many more families are moving further away from each other, whether for work, education or family. Despite this, new technologies available make it easier than ever to connect with loved ones who live further away. As parents age, however, adult children tend to move closer to where their loved one lives. While some move closer as their parents begin to age, preparing to serve as a caregiver, some remain distanced where they are.
According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Grandbrier® of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL., while technology can make it easier to communicate, it can pose some difficulties when it comes to caregiving. “As seniors age, their adult children often live states away, leaving a question as to what will occur when their loved one begins to need some extra care. Will they need to move? Can they care for their loved one from miles away? Caregiving then becomes a difficult topic,” says Diane. “Many long-distance caregivers have settled into their current routines, both they and their spouse may have established jobs and their children could be in school. These are all obstacles that make it harder for long-distance caregivers to move closer to their loved one.
“Fortunately, if your loved one does not need extensive care or can continue living on their own, it may be possible to serve as their caregiver right where you are. This is an option that many believe would be difficult, but if you know how to manage it, being a long-distance caregiver can actually be fairly simple. In order to successfully do so, it’s important to understand what the common obstacles will be and find ways to overcome them.”
Difficulties with Long-Distance Caregiving
Caring for your loved one from far away may provide many obstacles at first. According to the AARP®, some of the most common obstacles include:
● Increased stress. Long-distance caregiving can be both stressful, time-consuming and difficult, according to AARP®. This could be because you are having trouble managing tasks from further away, balancing being a caregiver with your other roles or dealing with guilt that you aren’t closer to help your loved one.
● Questioning whether or not to make a move. As stated before, many long-distance caregivers begin to consider if they should move or not, but the AARP states that some caregivers may question of whether or not your parent should move closer to you or even into your home. This is something that needs to be talked about prior to making any other decisions.
● Spending more money over time. Whether you are spending money on travelling back and forth to visit your loved one or hiring in-home care, it’s been shown that caregivers who live further away spend more money over time. According to a report by the AARP about caregiving in the United States, caregivers who live over an hour from their loved one report higher financial strain because of hiring in-home care.
Practical Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers
These common difficulties don’t mean that long-distance caregiving isn’t possible, it might just be harder at first. In order to make long-distance caregiving easier, consider some of the following tips from the National Institute on Aging (NIH).
● Help how you can. Many caregivers who are long-distance tend to help with paying bills, managing money or assisting with finances, according to the NIH. This can help drastically. Long-distance caregivers can also search for local resources, talk to their doctors to remain informed and help plan for future care needs.
● Arrange for in-home care when needed. Searching for in-home care may be difficult from afar, but talk to your loved one’s doctor. They may have recommendations that can point you in the right direction. Talk to other friends and family members to see if they can recommend any care options as well.
● Plan ahead. Talking to your loved one about a senior living community can help make the conversation easier down the road. Talk about your options and ask them about their preferences. If they are open to the idea, take a trip to visit your loved one and tour some communities.
● Provide support. If you are not your loved one’s primary caregiver, the NIH states it can be helpful for you to provide emotional support or respite care for your loved ones who do serve as primary caregivers. Plan a trip where you can take care of your loved one, and give your other family members a break.
● Keep others informed. Serving as an information coordinator can help your family members who serve as daily caregivers. The NIH states that researching health problems and medicines, clarifying insurance benefits and reaching out to other friends and family members can help keep others in the loop and updated.
For more information about caregiving from afar or to find more support, please contact us at Grandbrier® of Prospect Heights. We can help point you in the right direction of helpful resources and provide you with expert tips to make your caregiving journey easier. Please call us today at 847-243-6920.
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Live Well Beyond Ordinary at Grandbrier®
Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Care, Grandbrier® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Grandbrier of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living™.
Managed by Pathway to Living™, an innovator in senior living, Grandbrier offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Diane or Janette, Lifestyle Specialists, at 847-243-6920.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Grandbrier of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.