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Caregivers come in many different varieties. While people often think of a family caregiver as someone who lives with or nearby a senior loved one, there are many people who practice long distance caregiving: people who live a considerable distance away or who are otherwise unable to be physically present with an individual requiring attention.

Different challenges

Long distance caregiving can present some challenges which may differ from those of an at-home caregiver. Take meals, for instance.

Gretchen Cryer, a playwright and lyricist, lived miles away from her parents when both were taken ill and required care. She was fortunate to have her brother nearby to provide daily care for them; however, she also knew that her brother was not able to cook the kind of meals that her parents really enjoy.

This was an opportunity where Gretchen knew she could help. She cooked large quantities of food and shipped them frozen via UPS to her parents. She has since expanded this practice into a business.

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Talking can help

Sometimes simply talking to loved ones can be a key component of long distance caregiving. Many seniors do not get to spend as much time with friends and family as they would like. A phone call or, for those more advanced in technology, a video chat method of communication can make a tremendous difference in a senior’s outlook and mood.

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Consider monitoring systems


New technology is being developed that makes it easier for a person to keep track of a senior loved one from far away. New audio and video technologies can enable a person in a different location to have some sense of the activity going on in a senior’s home. Often this is movement-based, which can help detect changes in a person’s movements and to determine if, for example, a person with Alzheimer’s has wandered off his or her usual area of movements and might have strayed too far.

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Contact the local Area Agency on Aging

The state or local Area Agency on Aging often has hints and information on things that can make long distance caregiving easier in their specific areas. For example, they may list resources like senior transportation aids or community programs that help seniors interact with other seniors.

Go Pro

Even the most dedicated caregiver can’t do everything, especially long distance. That’s where HomeHero’s dedicated staff can come in. The experience and knowledge they bring to caregiving can come in especially handy in situations in which the caregiver is not nearby or has difficulty being physically present as often as is needed.

What struggles have you experienced when working with a loved one who is far away? Have questions for HomeHero? Send us your thoughts on Twitter @HomeHero or share a comment of Facebook!

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