Long-distance caregiving. Do you understand what factors into the difference between simply being a family caregiver or being a long-distance one? The definition from the National Institute on Aging says it’s a caregiver who lives an hour or more from the person receiving care.
A long-distance caregiver may be helping with personal care, housekeeping, meals, or finances. Of the 34.2 million Americans who provide unpaid care to someone age 50 or older, around 15 percent are long-distance caregivers.
Three Facts About Long-Distance Caregivers
You might think that long-distance benefit from the distance, but the opposite is true. Here are three facts to know about long-distance caregivers.
Long-distance caregivers spend more money caring for a parent than someone who lives within 20 minutes. The cost of gas, wear and tear on the car, and meals drive up the costs. Plus, these caregivers often pay for technology (video cameras, speaker systems like Alexa, and smart thermostats) to avoid help monitor the care recipients remotely.
People who provide care while living hours away report the highest levels of stress than other caregivers. The rate of stress is around 47 percent. When that carer is at back at home, the stress doesn’t often end. There’s usually uncertainty if everything is okay hours away. They may spend many hours monitoring cameras to ease their mind.
The average distance long-distance caregivers travel to care for an aging family member or friend is about 7 hours. The family caregiver often lives in a neighboring state and must travel during emergencies, which also adds the cost of accommodations to the overall picture.
Things You Must Do If You Provide Care From Afar
If you’re caring for an elderly parent and live hours away, there are some things you should do. Start with paperwork. Make sure your mom or dad has filled out HIPAA forms that allow you to talk to the family doctor about their health. A power of attorney will help you make decisions if your parent is unable to do that independently.
Make sure there is a friend or family member who lives nearby. Someone needs to be able to get to your mom or dad’s house in an emergency. Paramedics are always available, but they’re not the best choice if your mom calls because she can’t figure out how to get her TV working again.
Consider hiring elderly care services to help your mom or dad out during the week. The range of services available from an elderly care agency is vast. Your parent may need a bounty of services after a stroke or just need help with laundry one day a week. Call an agency and set up a schedule of home care services that matches your mom or dad’s needs.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Toms River, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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