You can accept caregiver duties regardless of how many miles stand between you and a loved one. You may not be able to cook meals or bring him or her to doctor's appointments, but there are other tasks that you can tend to.
You likely won't be the primary caregiver given your distance, but you can be a valuable resource for whoever is. Your help will be appreciated by those who provide hands-on care and the person who is being cared for.
Let the primary caregiver know that you'd like to lend a helping hand by reaching out. If he or she has grown used to handling caregiver responsibilities alone, you may face some difficulty at first. However, being gently persistent can help him or her realize that your assistance may not only be useful, but necessary in easing his or her stress.
Rather than let the primary caregiver figure out which tasks you can tend to from afar, propose them on your own and let him or her decide which aspects of caregiving he or she would like help with. Here are some to get you started.
- Look for home health care products: If your loved one has trouble with everyday tasks, products such as adaptive kitchen aids can allow him or her to continue living independently. You can even purchase the items and have them sent to the home if you want.
- Conduct research: One of the most tedious aspects of caregiving is finding out more about the condition. There are many resources, and sometimes you have to corroborate information, which takes time and patience. Save the primary caregiver from this responsibility and offer to do it. Create an easy-to-read document highlighting pertinent data and share it with other caregivers.
- Call often: Providing care for a family member isn't just about gathering information or purchasing home aids. You also have to consider his or her mental well-being. Time magazine pointed out that staying in touch will help you monitor his or her emotional health and everyday routines. You might even pick up on a problem that the primary caregiver hasn't detected.
It's always difficult to be far apart from someone you love, but supporting him or her isn't impossible as long as you know what to do and how to approach the matter.