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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 challenges, many caregivers simply don’t have a choice, so how can they make long-distance caregiving work?

Here are seven ways you can be an effective long-distance caregiver:

  • Be organized. Develop a system that works for you to keep track of information about medication, pharmacies, contact information, etc.
  • Do your homework. T he more you know and understand about your loved one’s dementia, the better prepared you’ll as the disease progresses, and you’ll also be more equipped to plan ahead in regards to traveling, medical care and assisted living.
  • Reach out. Talk to friends, family, and doctors who are close by about your loved one to help provide care and support.
  • Hire a caregiver. You may feel most confident having an experienced professional providing in-home care for your loved one.
  • Put technology to use. Facetime, Skype and other face-to-face video chat programs and apps are priceless tools when you’re trying to care for a loved one over long distance.
  • Make the most of your time together. When you do get the time to see your loved one, make the most of your time together and complete tasks that need to be done.
  • Know when it’s time for more help. 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 provides highly qualified 24-hour staffing, access to nursing seven days per week and even short-term respite care for caregivers.

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.