The Difficult Life of a Long Distance Caregiver

March 26, 2012

The call came unexpectedly.Home Care Professionals

I was in a business meeting and had forgotten to silence my phone. The ringtone personalized for my mother blared, turning all attention away from the PowerPoint presentation and on to me.

Blushing, I made my apologies and rushed to the door.

“What is it mom?”

“I just fell, it isn’t a big problem. I don’t want you to worry.”

“You fell?! That’s awful! Are you okay?”

“Well, the doctor says I fractured my hip, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

“That’s not fine, a fractured hip is not fine mom.”

“I didn’t want to call you because I knew you would worry, really I’ll be fine honey.”

After that, her doctor put her on strict limitations, at least until her hip healed up. I managed to take the next day off from work and made the three hour drive to see her. But, after that I had to head back to the city and my job. It was hard to leave her there alone. What if she fell again?

I knew I needed to be closer to her, I had to be there for her, but my job wouldn’t allow it. Until I could arrange a better situation, she would have to be there, and I would have to stay where I was.

According to a Home Instead Senior Care survey, I’m not alone. Of those currently caring for a senior loved one, 23% live an hour or more away and 20% live 2 or more hours away.

While it is a difficult and often heart breaking situation, many times it cannot be helped. There are ways to make it easier, though.

Tips for long distance caregivers

  • Build a network in your loved one’s area, using their neighbors and friends.
  • Compile all your loved one’s medical information into one file, ready to grab at a moments notice. This includes medication information, doctor contact info and advanced medical directives.
  • Become familiar with senior transportation services in your loved one’s area. These services can help them get to doctor’s appointments and social functions if no one else is available.
  • Grocery delivery services can be arranged, bringing all your loved one needs right to their door.
  • Community centers often host senior events that can provide valuable companionship. Make sure to investigate these and if possible, help your loved one arrange transportation to and from.

Our Local Resources – Houston page can help you get started in your research for mom. http://www.homeinstead.com/252/RESOURCES

One particular option that I found invaluable was hiring a home care professional to visit mom. The caregiver dropped by daily to make sure she was comfortable and had everything she needed. If mom wanted something from the store, food, medicine, even a book or magazine, the home care professional would run out and grab it. The friendly service provided mom with important, steady friendship, and was a big moral boost.

While nothing can compare to being there with your loved one, a long distance care situation can be managed.

Chris Lerch, Owner Home Instead Senior Care Houston

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.

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Chris M. Lerch, Owner

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.

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11201 Richmond Ave # 110 Houston, TX 77082-2670 Call 832.379.4700 for at home senior care you can trust.