What to Do
This Web site aims to help families like yours find needed resources. While caregiving is a national problem shared by millions, solutions are local and can vary greatly.
Our goal is to help you organize for the task and identify public and private service providers to help your loved one. We offer a range of communication tools to help you and your family coordinate and implement a caregiving plan.
Whether you face this challenge alone or as one of many siblings or relatives, as a long-distance caregiver you can observe changes that might be overlooked by local caregivers. You may be able to bring a fresh point of view to the situation.
Even if you can't provide local hands-on support, you can help a great deal by accepting responsibility for many important caregiver tasks: You can research medical treatment and care options such as home-delivered meals, transportation services and appropriate housing. You can handle finances and insurance claims, and provide local caregivers needed respite.
Long-distance caregiving is a process for improving communication, sharing responsibility and finding needed support. The challenges you face can get quite complicated, and many issues are complex and time-consuming. So it's a good idea to think about a non-emergency visit by doing as much preparation online and by phone in advance of that trip.
Getting organized requires equal doses of time and energy as well as sensitivity and patience. The additional support and guidance you are stepping in to provide may be needed, but not welcomed. It takes time for individuals involved to adjust to this new dynamic. But there are rewards. And getting organized can help reduce both anxiety and stress for you and your loved ones.
Getting organized involves four steps. While these steps do not have to be completed in order, each is step important. They include:
Gather resources by collecting and sharing information on everything from health insurance and housing options, to finding care and arranging transportation. It's often most efficient to start with your immediate family circle and radiate outward to the local community and online services. It's also important to match the needs of your family with the strengths (and weaknesses) of its individual members. You can access material on the wide range of community services and programs in our Service Directories, Library, as well as Links to outside resources.
Caregiving involves making choices after evaluating options. When you see it this way, you and your family can work together to plan for various scenarios, up to and including the loss of a loved one. Your choices may involve health, legal or financial matters, personal safety, welfare, and housing - or who gets to walk the dog. They are often based on a family's cultural, religious and personal values. Poor choices can destroy functional families, just as good results can bring them together. Review the tools you'll need to hold a family conference or go to our Library to review topics such as Insurance, Finances or even End of Life.
While many useful guides are available to help you navigate this process, CFAD has adapted as our primary model the structure outlined in Nora Jean Levin's "How to Care for Your Parents: A Practical Guide to Eldercare" (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1997) as our primary model.