As families spread out around the country and globe, seniors often rely on the support of loved ones who live far away. Long-distance caregiving has unique challenges, but it can be done safely and effectively.
In the US, approximately 5-7 million adults are responsible for caring for a senior family member who lives more than 26 miles away. For seniors and their caregivers, long-distance support is possible through smart strategies.
Common Challenges of Long-Distance Caregiving
Caregiving for senior loved ones is typically challenging. Coordinating services, ensuring a senior’s safety, offering companionship, and dealing with emotions are all common difficulties for families. Distance adds more complications. As a result, common challenges of long-distance caregiving include:
- Tracking seniors’ progress, needs, and well-being
- Arranging for services like transportation
- Gaining assurance of senior safety in their own homes
- Feeling disconnected or out of the loop in the caregiving process
- Paying for quality care plus travel expenses
Strategies for Successful Long-Distance Caregiving
Long-distance caregiving has become increasingly common due to the changing lifestyles of both seniors and families. Many caregiving agencies are now equipped to include long-distance loved ones in caregiving. Advances in technology also make it possible for far-away family members to be involved in caregiving. Smart strategies for long-distance caregiving include:
- Selecting a caregiver agency that uses technology to offer realtime interaction and transparency between in-person caregivers and family members
- Using video calling technology to stay connected with seniors on a regular basis
- Hiring companions, transportation, and other services designed specifically for seniors