#1 – What does a long-distance caregiver do?

Click here to see the beginning page in this series:  Questions and Answers about Long Distance Caregiving

What does a long-distance caregiver do?  How do I manage if my mom is in Chapel Hill or Durham and I am in New York?  How many other people are trying to help out from a distance, like me?

If you live an hour or more away from a person who needs care, you can think of yourself as a long-distance caregiver. This kind of care can take many forms—from helping with finances or money management to arranging for in-home care; from providing respite care for a primary caregiver to creating a plan in case of emergencies. Many long-distance caregivers act as information coordinators, helping aging parents understand the confusing maze of new needs, including home health aides, insurance benefits and claims, and durable medical equipment.

Caregiving, no matter where the caregiver lives, is often long-lasting and ever-expanding. For the long-distance caregiver, what may start out as an occasional social phone call to share family news can eventually turn into regular phone calls about managing household bills, getting medical information, and arranging for grocery deliveries.  What begins as a monthly trip to check on Mom may become a larger project to move her to a new home or nursing facility closer to where you live.

If you are a long-distance caregiver, you are definitely not alone. There may be as many as 7 million people in your same situation in the United States. In the past, caregivers have been primarily working women in mid-life with other family responsibilities. That’s changing.  More and more men are getting involved; in fact, surveys show that men now represent almost 40 percent  of caregivers. Anyone, anywhere can be a long-distance caregiver. Gender, income, age, social status, employment—none of these prevent you from taking on at least some caregiving responsibilities and possibly feeling some of the satisfaction.

Click here to see the next item in this series:  How will I know if help is needed?  My loved one sounds fine on the phone.

Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.

Within Acorn’s service area of Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina (Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Morrisville, Cary, and Apex) the following resources may be especially helpful:

  • Orange County Department on Aging, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516, (919) 968-2070
  • Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Avenue – Suite 202, Durham, North Carolina   27701, (919) 688-8247
  • Chatham County Council on Aging, 365 North Carolina 87, Pittsboro, North Carolina   27312, (919) 542-4512
  • Triangle J Area Agency on Aging, 4307 Emperor Boulevard
- Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, 919-558-2711
  • Resources for Seniors (Wake County), 1110 Navaho Dr.  – Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27609, 919-872-7933

 

 

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