So Far Away: Twenty Questions for Long-Distance Caregivers
Five years ago, Dave’s mother moved from the old house in Philly to an apartment in Baltimore that was closer to his sister. Dave didn’t give much thought to how the increased distance would affect their relationship. Until then, they’d only lived 30 minutes from each other. Dave had lunch with his mom about once a week; sometimes they’d go to a ballgame together. After the move, neither Dave nor his mom expected much to change—what was another hour or so of drive time? But over the years, the drive seemed to get longer and time together was harder and harder to arrange. Then his mom’s health began to slide. When Dave’s sister called to say Mom had fallen and broken her hip, Dave needed, and wanted, to help. Should he offer to hire a nurse? Should he take a week off work and help out himself? After all the years his mom had devoted to raising the family, what could Dave do from far away to help her?
The answer for Dave, and for so many families faced with similar situations, is simple: Lots! Long-distance caregivers can be helpful no matter how great the distance. So Far Away: Twenty Questions for Long-Distance Caregivers focuses on some of the issues unique to long-distance caregiving. Developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, this booklet is a gateway to ideas and resources that can help make long-distance caregiving more manageable and satisfying.
Long-distance caregiving can be figuring out what you can do to help Aunt Lilly sort through her medical bills or thinking about how to make the most of a weekend visit with Mom. It can include checking the references of an aide who’s been hired to help your grandfather or trying to take the pressure off your sister who lives in the same town as her aging parents and her aging in-laws. So Far Away often refers to caregiving for aging parents but, in fact, this booklet offers tips you can use no matter who you are caring for, be it an older relative, family friend, or former neighbor.
The booklet is organized in a question/answer format. Each of the 20 commonly asked questions has a brief, stand–alone answer. There’s also a resource list at the end that can help you find more information.