7 Helpful Tips for Long Distance Caregivers

Maybe you have an aging parent who lives a few hours away. Or, maybe one of your children who lives out of state has recently suffered an injury. You want to be near them and care for them, but distance, whether it’s your physical location or created by COVID restrictions, makes regular care a real challenge. 

We know that being away from those you love is incredibly tough. Fortunately, there are some creative solutions that may help you care for your loved ones and show up for them, even from afar.

1. Sign Your Loved One Up for Food Delivery

If your loved one struggles to make meals for themselves, one thing you can do is to sign them up for a food subscription service.

Through these services, all ingredients and simple food prep instructions are sent straight to your loved one’s home, no trips to the grocery store required. And if cooking isn’t feasible, you can always send their favorite meal via a delivery service.

Other Helpful At-Home Services

There are other services you can sign your loved one up for that might be helpful around the home. These services include everything from lawn mowing to house cleaning. Ask your loved one or their local caretaker what services they could use the most and look into local help in their area.

2. Consider Hiring a Part-Time Caregiver

Long distance caregiving for an aging parent can make you feel nervous about leaving them for long periods of time. A part-time caregiver could help your loved one with daily chores and tasks, and give you some much-needed peace of mind while you’re unable to be there.

There are various ways to find a part-time caregiver. For example, you can search online for home care agencies near your loved one’s home. Or, if you’re able, you can speak to your loved one’s doctor who will be able to direct you toward home care resources.

Ask for Help From Nearby Family Members or Friends

We know it can be hard to ask for help. But the reality is, you can’t do it all by yourself. Consider asking local family members or friends to check in periodically. Or, see if they would be willing to be on standby in the event of an emergency. Chances are, they’ll be ready to do what it takes to support you.

“Do your best to establish good relationships with the caregivers who are with your loved one on a daily basis. Treat them with love and respect and they will do the same for your loved one and you.” 

Bethany D.A.

3. Try a Tech Tool to Stay Connected

While you’re away, you’ll want to stay connected to your loved one. Technology tools can make this easier.

Video Calling Tools

Free video conferencing tools exist that can make video chatting with your loved one simple. You can use your phone or a computer to video chat, almost like you’re in the room. Plus, these tools have simple controls that even those who aren’t exactly tech-savvy can use.

Digital Photo Frames

Another easy way to stay connected is with a digital photo frame. These frames can be synced to your phone so any time you take a photo, it’s shared on the frame. For example, your aging parents may enjoy seeing updated photos of you or their smiling grandchildren.

“Buy a Frameo. It has been a blessing. My kids can send pics and videos of whatever they are doing, and it automatically updates on the picture frame. It keeps your loved ones informed without trying to coordinate times to call, Zoom, Facetime.”

Loretta L.

4. Help With Monthly Bills

One way to simplify caring from a distance is to offer to pay a monthly bill. For example, you could offer to pay a utility bill or pay for your loved one’s favorite TV streaming service.

You could also send your loved one a gift card for groceries or toiletries from online retailers. Or, perhaps a gift card to their favorite bookstore. This seemingly small gesture is a simple way to remind your loved one that you’re always thinking of them, even when you’re away.

5. Create & Store a Critical Information Binder

As a long distance caregiver, you probably have a plan in place in the case of an emergency, especially for an aging parent. However, does everyone who provides care for your loved one have easy access to documentation such as wills and medical histories?

An easy way to ensure everything is in one place is to create a critical information binder. This binder can include all documents such as insurance information, wills, medical histories, and financial information. You can then store this in a safe place so it’s readily available should you need it.

You can create a physical binder to keep in your loved one’s home as well as a virtual binder you can access from anywhere. For example, you can scan your loved one’s documents and save them to a folder on your computer.

In the event of an emergency, having your loved one’s medical, insurance, and financial information organized can help ensure they receive the care they need without delay. It can also save you the added stress of searching for missing documents.

6. Spend Quality Time With Your Loved One

When you visit, you may feel the urge to spend most of your time on caregiving tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and organizing care. While these are critical tasks, be sure to spend some quality time with your loved one while you’re visiting, too. This will help you both connect, make memories, and relax together—even if only for a moment.

Spend time together doing things you both enjoy. For example, take a walk or go out for lunch. Or, sit over a cup of coffee and reminisce about days past. These are the moments that can inspire you to keep going through the harder days.

7. Help Your Loved One Set Up a CaringBridge Site

As a caregiver, it can be overwhelming to try and keep everyone updated on the status of your loved one. And a plethora of phone calls and texts each day may be hard on you during this time. By setting up a CaringBridge site, you or your loved one can update everyone on how they’re doing with just a few clicks.

For example, you or your loved one can use the journal to add health updates or just share what they’ve been up to. Family and friends can then react to those entries and leave encouraging comments. You can also use the Planner feature to make planning caregiving tasks easier.

What’s Your Long Distance Caregiving Story?

Have you been caring from a distance? Do you have any tips or stories to share? If so, we’d love to hear more about your experience in the comments below. Your insight might just inspire someone else to keep going.

Don’t Go Through Your Health Journey Alone

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely free of charge, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!