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Long-distance caregiving

Sep 26, 2023
A woman and child sit at a table with a laptop, engaged in long distance caregiving for aging in place.

Long-distance caregiving can take many forms, from managing your loved one’s finances and paying their bills, to providing emotional support. If you find yourself in the long-distance caregiving role, here are some tips to help you take care of your loved ones.

If you live an hour or more away from your aging parents who need care, you are a long-distance caregiver. According to Statistics Canada, more than 8 million Canadians care for a friend or loved one with a chronic health condition or disability. It’s estimated that approximately 12% of family caregivers provide support to a family member who lives at least an hour away by car. (McMaster)

1-Organize paperwork for an aging parent

Keeping information —such as your parents’ personal, health and legal records—in order and up to date is an important part of caregiving.

Getting all this material together can be lot of work at first, and from far away it can seem even more challenging. But gathering everything together makes other caregiving tasks easier. Maintaining current information about your parents’ health and medical care, as well as finances, home ownership and other legal issues, helps you understand what’s going on and allows you to respond more quickly if there is a crisis.

When starting out, gather the essentials first and fill in the blanks as you go along. Talk with your parents (and their primary caregiver) about any missing information or documentation and how you might help to organize the records. It’s also a good idea to make sure that all financial matters, including wills and life insurance policies, are in order. It will also help if someone has power of attorney (the legal document naming one person to handle financial and property issues for another).

If your parents are reluctant to share personal information with you, explain that you are only trying to organize the information that may be needed in an emergency. Assure them that you will respect their privacy, and then keep your promise. (NIH)


2-Keep friends and family informed with Long-distance caregiving

You can schedule conference calls with you, your parents’ healthcare providers and other relatives so you can all stay informed about your parents’ health and progress. You might also talk with a local family member or friend who can keep you updated about what is going on. In some cases, this will be your other parent.(NIH)

And, of course, keep in touch with your senior loved ones. Phone calls and emails are a simple way to reach out, and they go a long way toward keeping your relationship strong.


3-Have an emergency plan

If your loved one has an accident or other emergency, you need to have a plan in place so you can get there on short notice. Set up a support system of people who can step in for you while you’re gone, whether it’s helping with the kids, the pets or your job. Keep a list of their contact information and agreed-upon roles. You might want to keep a travel bag packed with toiletries and essential clothing, so you don’t have to stop and think about what to bring with you.

Distance is a challenge when caring for elderly parents, but it can be made more manageable. With some planning and a team effort, you can make sure your loved one is getting the assistance they need.

We can help. Contact our Vyta Team today.  We’ll work with you and your loved ones to understand their specific needs and curate the right mix of services so they can age in place and enjoy quality of life.

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Contact Our Vyta Team Today

We’ll work with you and your loved ones to understand their specific needs and curate the right mix of services so they can age in place and enjoy quality of life.