Long-Distance Caregivers Have Options

Tim Watt  |  October 2, 2012

Many people understand that live-in caregivers of seniors face an inordinate amount of stress, but long-distance caregivers - those who live an hour or more away from aging relatives - face their own unique issues. With the "silver tsunami" of baby boomers turning 65 in the next 10 years, these caregivers will likely grow in number. Fortunately, there are a number of options and resources long-distance caregivers can employ without moving, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Elizabeth Edgerly, Chief Program Officer for the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California, is a long-distance caregiver, herself, for her mother, who is 82. She told the news outlet that it is important for family members to make a plan for their senior loved one. Families should think of people in the senior's area - neighbors, relatives or a long-time friend - who can check in periodically. The family should also look into other resources in the senior's area, such as respite care or other recreational activities at a nearby senior living community.

Edgerly also recommends families arrange for a medical evaluation for their loved one, so they better understand the situation, and whether the senior would be better off in an assisted living community. AARP recommends long-distance caregivers make a contact list of friends, neighbors, doctors and other individuals in regular contact with the senior who could be reached in case he or she needed something in an emergency. When long-distance caregivers get to visit their loved ones in person, it is important to reassess changing needs and observe them to see whether they seem like they need help with typical activities of daily living.