[MOL] Long Distance Care Giving.... [00875] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Long Distance Care Giving....

        Long Distance Caregiving

        If you live in another city or in another state from your elder(s), you may find yourself in a long-distance caregiving role which can be both challenging and stressful. You may find yourself commuting back and forth from your elder's home which may cause financial, physical and emotional strain. You may feel angry, guilty, exhausted, worry a lot, and that you can't do more. Remember to tell yourself you are doing the best you can. These feelings are normal and common under the circumstances.

        During visits to your elders, observe if your elder(s) is eating properly, paying bills, washing clothes, cleaning house, and whether there are safety issues. After you analyze the situation, talk with your elders and together figure out what your elder can do and what help may be needed. Sometimes you may find that your opinions may be different. If this is the case, you need to be gentle, but specific about what area or areas you think your elder could use some help. If you agree on at least one service that your elder needs, begin with that service. It is important for your elder to feel in control and able to make decisions.

        It is best to plan for the future finding out what kinds of services and programs are available where your elders live. Are there any family or friends or agencies that provide the service? Call the local senior center for information. Gather information on housing, transportation and home care agencies. If the situation calls for more than a few services, you may want professional intervention. A service coordinator, care or case manager can help coordinate services and can provide you with updated information. If you hire a private geriatric case manager, it is paid for out of private resources. You may also want to stay in contact with other family members, friends, neighbor or minister and get their feedback on your elder.

        If you think it would be better for your elder to live in the same city with you or within your own household, consider the following:

        Does your elder want to move to another city? Would your elder live in your same household or another household? Many times, elders do not want to live in the same household as their adult children. What housing options are available for your elder in your city? How will the housing be paid for?

        How independent is your elder? Would your elder be able to make new friendships in a different city? It may be very difficult to leave old friends and make new friends.

        Is there any unresolved conflict with your past relationship? If so, this must be resolved before moving an elder.

        Make sure you stay in communication with your elder, either by a weekly telephone call or a letter because your emotional support is so important. Helping them make decisions or you intervening in their situation is a way of providing caregiving.

Copyright Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging 1997-98

Warmly, lillian
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