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Tips For The Long-Distance Caregiver

According to the National Institute On Aging if you live more than an hour’s drive from the person for whom you care, you are considered a long-distance caregiver. Long -distance caregiving has its unique challenges. For example, by living at a distance you may only be see a snapshot of worsening health issues and not know of available resources/services.  Additionally, the person with failing health might not want to convey what’s really going on because they: 1. don’t want to burden you, 2. could fear unwelcomed interference or, 3. could have cognitive issues which compromise their ability to report accurately.

Those with cognitive decline might not report:
• medication mismanagement; i.e. forgetting to take medication and/or taking a double dose
• inability to upkeep personal hygiene, proper eating regime or traditional daily activities
• finances issues
• accidents with the car and/or within the home
• increases in falling

5 Tips Of What To Do
1. Find out about community resources by contacting their division of senior services.
2. Seek referrals from local individuals including neighbors, friends, professionals, and/or places of worship. Continue by vetting referrals through online reviews.
3. Make yourself known to neighbors and friends. They often see changes first-hand, so it is beneficial to give them your contact information and stay in active communication.
4. Inform others that you are the primary source of contact. This includes their health care professionals, financial institutions and circle of friends. If the person with cognitive decline lives alone, provide the local police with your contact information.
5. Utilize technology for monitoring; i.e. a mounted camera, devices to locate misplaced items, aids that warn of falls, medication dispensers and/or a refrigerator camera.

Gathering the right resources and information will help you to make well-informed decisions.  Keep in mind that long distance caregiving tasks should not be considered the responsibility of just you. It is time consuming and often challenging to be available to assume the ongoing demands. Although you are the primary caregiver, you should share the responsibilities with others.  For example, family who live at a distance can help by taking on tasks such as finding out about community resources, seeking referrals, researching technical devices or coordinating services.

Professional Assistance Can Help
As a dementia care specialist I can be part of your team. I can be your “boots on the ground” to oversee care locally, offer vetted professionals/services tailored to your situation and help with necessary decision-making. For more information about my services or to schedule a consultation
Contact Me

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