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Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers: How to Maintain the Health and Happiness of Your Loved One

by Claire Wentz of Caring from Afar

Do you live far away from your elderly parent? If you’re a long-distance caregiver to your senior loved one, you might feel stressed by the responsibility of making sure they’re happy, healthy, and well cared for. You want to do everything to maintain their well-being, but living far away from your loved one adds a lot of extra challenges. Instead of getting discouraged, follow these tips for providing the best care.

Scheduling Doctor Visits

If you live in another city or state and don’t see your loved one every week, take the time to learn as much as possible about their health, and schedule doctor appointments during your visits so you’ll have a clear picture of your loved one’s health. Understanding their health is the best way to anticipate their future needs and prevent a crisis.

Collecting All the Paperwork

If you’re caring for an aging parent in another city, make sure you have access to their medical records and have legal permission to access their financial and medical information. Collect all the appropriate paperwork in one folder so you’ll know where to find it. If you’re sharing caring responsibilities with siblings, consider putting all this information in a secure online document so you can all access the relevant material. Include important information such as social services numbers, medical information, financial concerns, and contact numbers for other caregivers and friends.

Planning Your Visit

Your to-do list while visiting your loved one can seem long, so plan ahead and make sure you have time to do as much as you can. Plan to visit the doctor and look after the house but be sure to set aside time to go for coffee, watch a movie, buy a new outfit, or do a fun project. Make sure you schedule time for some fun activities, and don’t make your whole visit about caregiving. Set realistic expectations around what you can accomplish, and leave the rest for next time.

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