Focus on the Family

Caregiving From a Distance

How can you help when your elderly mother or father who lives many miles away?

by Carol Heffernan

If you are coping with the frustrations, concerns and guilt that often accompany long-distance care giving, you are not alone. Recent estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association indicate that more than 3 million adults provide assistance remotely for ailing or vulnerable relatives, usually aging parents.

Making sure Mom and Dad are well cared for is a difficult challenge; doing so from many miles away has its own set of issues. What happens in an emergency? Are medications properly administered? Who’s there to lend a hand with the activities of daily living?

It’s no wonder common care-giving stress intensifies when involvement is from afar. Oftentimes, aging parents fear “being a burden” to their adult children, so they fail to be forthright about their declining health. Parental pride, privacy and sometimes embarrassment may also prevent adult children from really knowing the severity of a situation.

Still, taking stock of your parents’ needs—ideally before a predicament arises—will help everyone involved.