We don’t need to see the latest romance movie to understand that long-distance relationships often do not work. For caregivers who live far away (an hour or more) from the home of their loved one (what we call long-distance caregivers) can face difficult and demanding challenges that could turn into real problems. These challenges could become even more complicated with loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Long-distance caregivers who travel to assisted living care homes for dementia residents have to think through not being present to keep constant tabs on their loved one, travel time which can be a real problem during emergency situations where time is key, and the expenses of having to drive a long distance and potentially miss work. Despite these problems, some caregivers just have to be long distances away due to their workplace or other factors.
Thankfully, there are some things families can do to make a long-distance caregiving relationship work:
Seven Ways to Be a More Effective Long-Distance Caregiver
- Organization: Having some system of organization with regards to information about medication, contact information, pharmacies and other important info will help you be less stressed.
- Plan ahead: Learning more about the disease your loved one is facing will help you as a caregiver understand how often you will need to be on the road and signs to look out for.
- Network: Talk to friends, family, and doctors who are close by about your loved one and see if they can provide the same support you do.
- Hire a nurse or caregiver: Having an in-home nurse or even a helper to assist your loved one with normal tasks can help, especially if you brief them on what disease or problems they have.
- Use technology: Skype and other software can help you be ‘face to face’ with your loved one at any point.
- Use personal visits: When you do get the time to see your loved one, make the most of your time and complete tasks that need to be done.
Finally, locating a memory care home in the Dallas area and taking advantage of their programs can also give you the comfort of knowing that your loved one is safe even when you aren’t there. The Cottages offers services that cater to long-distance caregivers, including but not limited to:
- Highly qualified 24-hour staffing
- Access to 7 days-per-week nursing
Using the seven tips listed above to be a more effective long-distance caregiver along with having your loved one at a top-quality memory care facility will give you more confidence about a long-distance relationship and help to make it just as personal as a face to face one.