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Long Distance Caregiving

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Caregiving is often times a long distance task. What do you do when you have a parent or close family member who lives miles away that become ill and need your assistance. How does one manage the daily demands, small and large of another persons health care crisis?
No matter the distance, you can be a good caregiver and manage the stress that accompanies it. Here are some tips I adapted from a NIA booklet called So Far Away: Twenty Questions for Long Distance Caregivers:

1. Seek out help from people in the community: the next door neighbor, an old friend, the doctor. Call them and tell them what is going on and make sure they know how to reach you.

2. If there is already an on-site caregiver, identify options to help them if a crisis occurs. Making prior arrangements can make things easier when a crisis does occur.

3. Get a directory of resources and services from a local library or social service provider, and check for updates on these resources. This helps everyone know what is available and you can begin plugging into networks.

4. Pull together a list of the persons prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, including doses and schedules. This is essential in emergencies and keep the list updated regularly.

5. Discuss and advance directive that states your loved-ones wishes regarding health-care treatment preferences. If he or she does not have one, talk about getting one set-up. Make sure you keep a copy and you know where the original is kept. You should also provide a copy to the physician.

These are a few tips that should help you manage the storm or long distance caregiving. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself and always remember the ultimate goal is to be helpful to the person you love.

If you have tips you would like to share please feel free to leave those in the comments or email me directly.

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