AlzU Blog

Tips for Long Distance Caregivers

For family members who live long distance from their loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), staying informed and making decisions can be a real challenge. It’s important to find ways to get involved and stay abreast of how your loved one is progressing. Often, it’s possible to adopt an effective “long distance caregiver” role.  Here are a few tips to help you embrace the challenges of caregiving from afar:

  • Regular visits will help you to assess the situation for yourself.
  • Evaluate how well your loved one with AD manages activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Check the kitchen for the availability of healthy and nutritious food.
  • Does your loved one eat regular meals?  Can he/she safely use the stove to cook ?
  • What is the condition of the home; is there a need for housekeeping assistance?
  • Are the finances being managed appropriately?  Look for signs of unpaid bills.
  • Does your loved one socialize regularly? Can he/she safely drive?
  • How does your loved one manage personal care like bathing and grooming?
  • Does he/she sleep for at least 8 hours per night or are there signs of insomnia?

If traveling is out of the question, you may need to gather information from other family members, friends and/or neighbors.  Reaching out and asking for help is even more important than ever in a long distance caregiver relationship.  When you can’t be there in person with eyes on your loved one, it’s vital to find someone you trust who can keep you informed and updated on a regular basis so you can make sound choices for the care recipient.

When you are able to travel and visit your loved one, make sure to take care of the most important things while you are present and make the most of your time.  Although you probably can’t spend as much time as you want with your loved one, make sure when you are present, it’s quality time.  During visits be sure to: 

  1. Make an appointment to see the physician;
  2. Meet with local relatives, friends and neighbors to get feedback on any new observations;
  3. Spend quality time to make a connection, spend family time doing enjoyable activities together.

Be sure to seek support for your own process of grief or depression, or any feelings of guilt that may come along with being a long distance caregiver.  There are many online resources available with support group listings for caregivers in your local community.  To learn more about self-care for caregivers and Alzheimer’s disease, CLICK HERE to sign up for our 25 topic Alzheimer’s caregivers’ course today.

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