caregiving can be just as or even more stressful than being
there. Long-distance caregivers may not be on site providing
direct care, but they could be busy in their role as care
managers locating and coordinating services; negotiating
with the care recipient, health professionals and family members; delegating
tasks; monitoring the situation and making decisions.Telephone and travel may
provide some relief but distance can heighten
the caregiver's feelings of anxiety and guilt. An extended
period of long-distance caregiving exacts a heavy toll on
the caregiver's personal, family and work life.
Canadian statistics on caregiving:
of caregivers are women mostly married, working mothers
of care recipients are women
of care recipients are 65 years and older
half a million Canadians moved to care for someone with
a long-term illness or to be cared for by a relative or
of the caregiving relationships that involve a move concern
an adult child taking care of an ailing parent
nearly one in five cases, people moved closer to care for
Statistics Canada's General Social Survey (1996)
Things You Should Know
the usual caregiving worries are magnified when a caregiver
is far away
considering becoming a long distance caregiver you should
publicly funded services are available in the community
where the person needing care lives? Are they accessible
to the person needing care? Will they need help accessing
them? If they do need help, is someone within the person's
there a relative or friend nearby the person needing
care who can help?
you tolerate the travel fatigue?
will this decision impact on the rest of your family?
will your decision affect work?
you afford the extra costs involved?
you emotionally prepared for the added burdens?
you be patient and assertive enough when communicating
Things to Look For
signs that a person may require care assistance:
physical or mental health
or unsanitary living conditions
of access to transportation
of a social network
In telephone conversations, gently probe for information
about the person's health and well-being. Listen for
cues that may indicate problems. If possible, visit
to assess the situation.
Should the person requiring care move in with you? Or should
you move closer to be with them? Review the alternatives.
What does the person need to stay in their own home? Perhaps
home modifications and community services will suffice. If
not, look for options that allow the care recipient, especially
an older person, to continue living in the same community.
Factors to consider before moving or relocating a senior
care recipient's needs for independence and familiarity
with friends and community
past relationship with the care recipient
needs and your family's needs
home environment space, privacy, safety
availability of proper health care
availability of publicly funded community resources to help
the care recipient
emotional, physical and financial capability to deal with
the person's care needs
of associated care if this is not available or accessible
from the publicly funded system
impact on your job
long you expect the arrangement to last
effect of an out-of-province or out-of-country move on eligibility
for health-care and other services
for a caregiver may be inevitable if
services are not available or accessible for the care recipient
physician recommends it
person needs 24-hour care or supervision
person can no longer live safely at home