It can be tough to care for an aging parent, partner, friend or relative. Your loved one might need rides to and from appointments, help with grocery shopping or paying bills, or aid in dressing, bathing, preparing meals and using the toilet.
And these tasks are significantly more challenging for caregivers who don’t live close to their loved one. “It’s a lot to take on, even on a part-time basis, especially for caregivers who may also have a career and their own children,” said Christine Cunningham, a social services professional at Banner Health.
It also can be difficult to get an accurate handle on how your loved one is doing. “Technology like Skype and FaceTime have improved the situation a bit, but they are still no substitute for being there in person to assess and manage a situation,” Cunningham said. And when you visit in person, seeing your loved one’s circumstances can trigger anxiety and feelings of guilt.
It can be expensive too. “This labor of love can result in lost wages and high travel costs—significant expenses that you may not recoup,” she said.
Here are some strategies long-distance caregivers can use to manage their loved one’s needs from afar.