Long-distance caregiving has now become part of the “new normal.” It’s estimated that anywhere between 10 million-14 million people care for a loved one from a distance. This number has increased over the past several years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and families having had to socially distance and limit visits for the safety of their loved ones.
For many caregivers, this has brought on feelings of frustration and sometimes guilt. You may have been unable to assist with doctor’s appointments, medication management, or just day-to-day care.
To help make long-distance caregiving easier for you, here are some tips and hacks to maintain your loved one’s quality of life:
Tip 1: Set Up Meetings
The best place to start is making sure family and friends all understand your loved one’s needs. If possible, hold this meeting in person. If not, schedule a long-distance meeting via Zoom or FaceTime.
Tip 2: Gather Necessary Documentation
First and foremost, you should have access to your loved one’s medical records, particularly if they are living with a chronic condition like arthritis or dementia. This information should include physicians’ names and contact information, a list of all the medications, health insurance information, and a list of any upcoming medical appointments or procedures they have scheduled.
Having financial paperwork collected and organized will also make it easier to remember monthly bills and other financial responsibilities. Have your name added to bank accounts, if necessary, so you can continue paying the bills if your loved suffers an accident.
Other important documents you’ll need are their birth certificate, social security card, advance directives, and healthcare power of attorney, if applicable.
Tip 3: Study Up
If you’re living a long distance away, perhaps hundreds of miles, it’s unlikely that you can attend all of your loved one’s doctor’s appointments in person. This makes it essential that you do your homewo