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Long-distance caregiving

Many of us eventually find ourselves caring for parents or other aging relatives who live in other cities.

Despite the distance, AARP says you can still play an important role in ensuring that your relative gets the care he or she needs.

Be observant

When you visit your loved one, pay careful attention. Is he or she eating well? Are finances handled appropriately? Are there obvious safety problems? Your answers to these questions will tell you a lot about the person's well-being.

If you have concerns, discuss them with your loved one. People generally want to remain as independent as possible. Linking your relative to a good support system or community service agency can help make it possible.

Support networks

Look for nearby support systems, such as friends, neighbors, and fellow members of churches or other groups your relative belongs to. They may be willing to watch over your loved one.

Ask your relative to help identify these people and make sure you know how to reach them. Contact them and explain your situation. Ask them to call you if your relative's situation changes. You may also want to ask them for names of others who might be willing to help.

Community service agencies

If the support network can't meet all of your loved one's needs, community service agencies can also help. These agencies offer everything from home-delivered meals to in-home healthcare or housekeeping.

To find these agencies:

  • Talk with social workers, clergy or doctors.
  • Go to the Family Care Navigator to locate services and programs nearest your loved one.
  • Call the Eldercare Locator (800.677.1116) or visit their website. This agency lists community resources for older adults throughout the United States.

Agencies may have detailed applications and fee structures. Investigate the services and their costs carefully before signing up.

reviewed 2/19/2020

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