Long Distance Caregiving


We live far away, so how do we care for our loved ones?

In this modern era, it’s not uncommon for families to live a great distance apart. Eventually, the time will come when your parents, grandparents, or another loved one may need in-home NJ senior care. You’ll then be facing the challenge of long distance caregiving. Education and planning ahead of time is the best approach to dealing with the challenge of elder care.

Do my senior loved ones need in-home care?

If you answer one or more of the following, they may need the extra assistance home care can provide:

  • Do they need assistance with walking?
  • Has their physical and/or emotional health been declining?
  • Are they able to prepare nutritious daily meals?
  • Are they able to shop for themselves?
  • Are they able to manage their bills and financial responsibilities?
  • Are they taking their medications on time?
  • Are they still able to drive safely?
  • Are they in need of companionship?
  • Are they able to dress, bathe, and groom themselves?

How do I prepare? Plan ahead!

  • Discuss future elder care needs with your parents and family members
  • Prepare the necessary legal and medical documents that may be necessary should an emergency arise
  • Form a local contact list of their medical professionals, hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical facilities they might need; consider working with a local geriatric manager or Certified Senior Care Advisor
  • Most importantly, contact your loved ones’ medical professionals, friends, neighbors, and other support systems that may already be in place–establishing & maintaining relationships provides a comfort zone within the family

Institutional facilities vs. their own home

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities aren’t the only options available for care. There may even be severe emotional trauma when your loved ones leave their comfortable home and familiar surroundings. Studies have shown that seniors are healthier and happier when they remain in their own homes and familiar communities, surrounded by their friends and neighbors.

I feel guilty I’m not there helping them

It’s natural to feel guilty; it’s frustrating to be separated by distance while trying to manage far away.

  • Reduce your anxiety and share the load with other family members. Know your strengths and limitations and let others help.
  • If your loved one is dealing with a specific illness (Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, stroke, etc.), contact the local association/support group. Use the services of a care manager, elder law attorney or Certified Senior Advisor.
  • Most importantly, stay in contact with your loved ones and their support group. Call and visit them as often as possible.

How do I choose a home care agency?

Home care agencies offer different levels of service. Choose an agency that can offer more than basic homemaker services–eventually, your loved ones will require personal care services (assistance with dressing, bathing, hygiene). The home care agency you choose should be bonded, insured and licensed (not all states require home care licensing). Their aides should be experienced and screened, including a criminal background check.

How do we afford the care they need?

Home care services are non-medical, so they aren’t currently covered by Medicare. In-home care services are generally paid individually or by long term care insurance. Other ideas:

  • Funds may be available from associations for members who are afflicted with a specific disease
  • Reverse mortgages allows your loved ones access to funds from their home equity without touching their income producing investments
  • Veterans and their spouses may qualify for the Disability Pension for Aid and Attendance which provides funds for in-home elder care

Long distance caregiving is becoming a necessity in today’s society. Visiting Angels is a leader in delivering senior home care just when your parents need it. You can rest assured that your loved ones will be in experienced and caring hands.