Providing care for an aging loved one is a rewarding, stressful, and significant responsibility. While primary caregivers spend a lot of time with their loved one, long-distance caregivers have to find ways to help from afar. When you can’t be physically present, make up for it by staying in touch, planning visits, and offering support to the caregiver who is with your loved one all the time. These and other tips for long-distance caregivers spanning the distance will help you make the most of your time with your loved one, no matter where you live or how often you can visit.
Put Effort Into Staying in Touch
Calling or writing regularly is rarely as easy as you expect it to be. No matter how you stay in touch, be consistent with it. Make a schedule for writing letters or setting up video calls. It might take extra effort, especially on days when your loved one isn’t up for talking a lot. Practice patience and understanding in your communications. You can also mix up your routine by sending care packages or finding activities to do together over the phone or on video calls. Not every conversation will be successful, but putting in the effort will help you stay in touch through the good and the bad.
Visit When You Can
A little planning can go a long way. When you get the chance to visit, make sure you coordinate with your loved one and their caregiver so that you know how to make the most of your time in town. Learn about your loved one’s schedule and what they can do with you while you’re there. Ask their primary caregiver what you can do to help. In addition to spending time with your loved one, lend a hand around the house, take them out to run errands, or spend some time talking to your loved one’s physicians and other medical caregivers. It’s also the perfect chance to give the primary caregiver a couple of days off while you care for your loved one.
Care for the Caregiver
Visiting is a great way to give your loved one’s primary caregiver some respite, but that isn’t the only time you should lend a helping hand. Primary caregivers put a lot of time and effort—both physically and emotionally—into caring for your loved one. One of the most important tips for long-distance caregivers is to offer support and care for the primary caregiver. Check in on them regularly. Be patient with them as they work through their own stress and responsibilities. You can also offer aid from afar by helping with finances, researching care options, or connecting them to local resources. You can also help by connecting them to bereavement therapy and other appropriate grief resources when the time comes. Primary caregivers need support, too, and the help you offer is invaluable no matter how far away you are.