How Long-Distance Caregivers Can Show Their Support from Afar

Long Distance Caregiver

Today, many family members live significant distances away from loved ones who are receiving care. According to AARP, “An estimated 11 percent of family caregivers live at least an hour away from their loved one.”

Says Colleen Dwyer, Executive Director and Administrator of Bryn Mawr Terrace in Bryn Mawr, PA, “While all caregivers face challenges in caring for a family member in need, those living further away must deal with a special set of circumstances that can make the job even more difficult. The distance factor alone typically means longer travel times, greater expense and more inconvenience for caregivers who might also be dealing with competing family, work and personal needs at home.

“Caregivers who live some distance away can also be more prone to guilt feeling over their lack of availability to the loved one and other members of the family caregiving team. “However, the added challenges presented by living far away don’t mean that you can’t be a valued, contributing member of the caregiving team. On the contrary, there are many things you can do to support your loved one

Tips for Being a Supportive Long-Distance Caregiver 

According to experts in long-distance caregiving, one of the first and most valuable things you can do is to ask your loved one and their primary caregiver what you can do to help. In addition, resources such as the National Institute on Aging offer a variety of useful suggestions that will enable you to take a proactive approach to being an effective long-distance caregiver. 

  • Assist with identifying and organizing local support resources – Many useful programs and community resources exist that can make life easier for your loved one and their primary caregiver. These include providing transportation, delivering meals, making regular check-in phone calls and helping around the house.

    You can help to organize and coordinate these support services by doing the research and making phone calls to get them set up.  Contact the local Office of Aging, or churches and synagogues to find out what services are available in your area. Also, the U.S. Administration on Aging website and the Alzheimer’s Association site, can help identify services.
  • Help out with financial support – Providing care for a loved one in need involves both time and money. You can offer financial support to assist with the many different aspects of caregiving from meal preparation, to direct caregiving, to the purchase of medical equipment and supplies. Any financial help is always appreciated by both the person requiring care and those who are most involved with providing it.
  • Give the gift of Respite Care -- In addition, respite care provides primary caregivers with a welcome break from the rigors of their caregiving routine. Caregivers receive some much-needed down time to enjoy a physical and mental break while your loved one receives care and support provided by professionals in a safe, nurturing environment. Paying for periodic respite care can be an ideal way to show your love and support when distance prevents you from being there in person.

  • Assist with making caregiving arrangements – Can your loved one’s primary caregiver use additional help? Will they be able to sustain the level of care they are currently providing over time?

    Another way long-distance caregivers can provide needed support is to research other caregiving options. For example, today one of the most popular and fastest growing senior care options is personal care.Typically, primary caregivers are so busy balancing their caregiving duties with the personal responsibilities of home, family and work, that they often have little time to do anything else. Therefore, offer to research and assess other caregiving options as they are needed.
  • Be the family communications center – Another valuable role for long-distance caregivers is to serve as the communications hub for family and friends.Keeping all interested parties up to date on your loved one’s status via e-mail, text message or Facebook can be a time-consuming job, but one that will be very much appreciated by all who care about your loved one’s wellbeing. 
  • Stay well connected – Above all, if you live a distance away, it is important to show that you care by being as connected as possible. Call your loved one and their primary caregivers frequently to convey your love and support as well as to discuss any new needs that might be arising. Today, this is easier than ever with the many electronic communications options at our disposal.

    Most importantly, try to visit as often as your life circumstances permit. Nothing is more effective than a personal visit for demonstrating your love, evaluating your loved one’s health status and learning how you can be most effective as a long-distance caregiver.

Colleen adds, “Additional step by step guidance on how to be an effective long-distance caregiver is also available in the article, Help for Long-Distance Caregivers.’ By followingthis useful advice, long-distance caregivers can maximize their support to their loved one while also making important contributions to the entire caregiving team.”  

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a tour of Bryn Mawr Terrace to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Senior Care.” 

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts! 

If you have comments or questions about our blog, How Long-Distance Caregivers Can Show Their Support from Afar, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story. 

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue. 

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living, personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance 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.

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