Long distance care tips

Families separated by long distances face unique challenges in caring for a loved one with a serious illness.

Long-distance caregivers may be frustrated by their inability to participate in everyday care and may also feel guilty about letting those responsibilities fall to others.

But there are ways for families to stay connected and support each other.

If you have family acting as the everyday, hands-on caregiver, respect the work that they are doing. If you disagree with a decision or course of action, approach it as a discussion rather than as a demand.

Forge relationships with your loved one’s care team and set up a schedule for regular communications. If family is keeping you up to date and you are in touch with your loved one, you may only need to speak to the care team once or twice a week, with updates increasing as time goes on.

Technology makes it easy to keep in touch by phone or by video chat. Talk to your loved one and get their perspective on their care. Let them know that you are only a phone call away, you love them, and they can count on your support. Face-to-face communications also offers the opportunity to monitor their emotional wellbeing and health.

Work with family and the healthcare team to find ways to contribute from a distance. Are there tasks that can be accomplished over the phone or online? Are there additional services that you could hire to help local family caregivers, such as housekeeping or meal service? Can you help arrange care to offer family caregivers some respite?

Perhaps the most challenging part of being a long-distance caregiver is knowing that you will get the call telling you it’s time to say goodbye. Prepare and be ready if there are sudden changes in your loved one’s health.
Contact United Hospice for support any time at 845.634.4974 or email info@unitedhospiceinc.org for more information about our services.