Caregiving From a Distance Takes Careful Planning



Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 3, 2015 – People who care for their aging parents or other relatives from a distance must overcome additional obstacles that require careful planning.

“Caregiving can take many forms, and children who act as caregivers from another city or state often face high expenses and difficulty knowing when to intervene, on top of the usual burdens of caregiving,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center.

Increasingly, children who live hours away from their parents take on the responsibility of making health care and housing decisions for their parents, along with providing financial and emotional support. These individuals often shuttle between states to care for their relatives while balancing their careers and family lives. Such a setup can be exhausting, and long-distance caregivers may have less opportunity to observe the subtle changes that indicate a senior needs more help.

A support system is always important, but it is especially vital for people who are caregiving from a distance. Asking for help from friends and relatives who are local to the family member can bring more support — and prompter intervention if things turn south.

Communication is also essential. Living separately and at a distance from a parent makes it difficult to directly observe changes in health or financial status, but clear, open communication can help make up for the gap.

In some cases, it may be best to eliminate the distance. By moving their loved ones closer to their own home, caregivers can solve many of the logistical problems associated with caregiving from a distance. But such a move may not be the best choice for seniors who have many friends and relatives near them in the current hometowns.

Long-distance caregiving goes smoothest when the person has already made arrangements in case he or she should fall ill. An up-to-date power of attorney and advance health care directive can lift burdens from a caregiver’s shoulders, and families should always talk to loved ones about their preferences in case of illness.