Long distance caregiving is a challenging and stressful experience. Caregivers who live far away from their loved ones may experience anxiety, worry, and guilt about their family member’s health and well-being. The distance between them can make it difficult to provide the care and support their loved one needs, which can further exacerbate their anxiety.
If you are a long distance caregiver, it is essential to understand that you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 7 million Americans are long distance caregivers. Here are some of the common anxieties long distance caregivers may face and tips to help manage them:
- Fear of the unknown: When you live far away from your loved one, it can be challenging to know what’s happening day-to-day. You may worry about their health and safety, whether they’re taking their medication correctly, or if they’re eating nutritious meals. To manage this fear, consider setting up a regular schedule to communicate with your loved one and their healthcare provider. You can also consider hiring a geriatric care manager who can provide regular check-ins and update you on your loved one’s health status.
- Guilt and helplessness: It’s natural to feel guilty when you can’t be there to help your loved one. You may feel like you’re not doing enough or that you should be there to provide hands-on care. However, it’s important to recognize that being a long distance caregiver comes with its own unique set of challenges. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you do. This may include coordinating care, managing finances, or providing emotional support.
- Difficulty making decisions: Long distance caregivers may find it challenging to make decisions about their loved one’s care, especially if they are not familiar with the healthcare system in their loved one’s area. To make informed decisions, consider doing research on local resources, talking to your loved one’s healthcare providers, and consulting with other family members.
- Feeling isolated: Long distance caregiving can be a lonely experience. You may feel like you’re not part of your loved one’s day-to-day life or that you’re missing out on important events. To combat isolation, consider joining a support group for long distance caregivers. These groups can provide a safe space to share your experiences, learn from others, and receive emotional support. s
Long distance caregiving can be a difficult and stressful experience, but there are steps you can take to manage your anxiety. Remember that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you navigate the challenges of long distance caregiving. By staying informed, making informed decisions, and seeking support when needed, you can provide the care and support your loved one needs, even from afar.