Long Distance Caregiving

Q. “How can I help my parents when I live so far away? or  I’m the only one living close enough to help mom and dad, and it’s too much for me.”

A. This is a common theme among families that don’t live close to older relatives. At the opposite extreme, one relative or sibling does live close, and often does most, or all, of the work. This person can get overworked and stressed, and possibly resentful.

Finding a balance is important for everyone’s sanity and good health. How do you get more people pitch in and spread out the tasks?

Questions to ask yourself:
  • How much help do your parents want, or need?
  • How much do you just enjoy doing for them?
  • Who have you asked to help and pitch in, and what was their response?
  • What concerns do other family members have about mom and dad’s need for care?

Helpful Tips: The first question to ask yourself is if you’ve determined that help is needed? Have you discussed this with the older adult(s)? Have you had a conversation with your siblings, your relatives or your parent’s friends? If you’re overwhelmed, you need to find help and get others involved. One approach is to organize a meeting where you can determine what help is needed and how to spread out the tasks.

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