Illinois Cognitive Resources Network

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What Can a Caregiver Really Do From Afar?

Who is a long-distance caregiver?

Anyone, anywhere, can be a long-distance caregiver, no matter your gender, income, age, social status, or employment. If you are living an hour or more away from a person who needs your help, you’re probably a long-distance caregiver. Anyone who is caring for an aging friend, relative, or parent from afar can be considered a long-distance caregiver.

Long-distance caregivers take on different roles. You may:

  • Help with finances, money management, or bill paying
  • Arrange for in-home care—hire professional caregivers or home health or nursing aides and help get needed durable medical equipment
  • Locate care in an assisted living facility or nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility)
  • Provide emotional support and occasional respite care for a primary caregiver, the person who takes on most of the everyday caregiving responsibilities
  • Serve as an information coordinator—research health problems or medicines, help navigate through a maze of new needs, and clarify insurance benefits and claims
  • Keep family and friends updated and informed
  • Create a plan and get paperwork in order in case of an emergency
  • Evaluate the house and make sure it’s safe for the older person’s needs

Over time, as your family member’s needs change, so will your role as long-distance caregiver.

Published by Chrishun Brown

Communications Manager for the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center

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