The stress makes it feel like an impossible decision. Should you remain where you live now as a long distance caregiver – or should you move closer to your aging parents? Should you give up your current job, your community, and living near friends to ease the burden of long distance caregiving?
According to Caregiving in the U.S. Research Report there are approximately 34 million American caregivers and 15% of them live one hour or more away from the person in their care. On average, long-distance caregivers live an average distance of 450 miles from their loved one and travel more than 7 hours one-way to visit them. Many of them share the dilemma of whether or not to move closer to the loved one in their care. Here are some suggestions that may help you to make that decision.
Does your loved one need more care than one person can give? Mom and Dad are aging, but they’re still able to live independently. You would just feel more reassured knowing they’re taking their medications every day and on time, that they’re eating healthy, and that everything is good. A daily check-in call from a trained professional can give you the peace of mind you need. Dementia and other progressive diseases can cause multiple health issues and one person is not equipped to care for them. If your loved one has trouble walking or getting out of bed and has other physical ailments and diseases, moving closer will not improve his or her health. It is better to find appropriate, comprehensive care.
What are the reasons you are considering moving? This can be difficult to sort out, but think carefully about why you think you should move. Is it to provide direct care? Is it to resolve the guilt that you feel from living at a distance? These are vastly different reasons to move. Before picking up your life it is important to determine your motivation for moving. Living closer to your loved one will not resolve guilt. Instead, utilize a service like Keeping In Touch Solutions so you get peace of mind that everything is OK. Knowing that there’s an additional support line for your parents will alleviate any guilt. It’s not like you’ll never be in touch. Today there’s wonderful technologies that allows you to video chat with your loved one as well, so that you can see how things are with your loved ones.
Can you establish a new life when you move? If you work independently and can work remotely from any location, that will certainly make it easier to move. If you don’t have to quit one job and find another, that is a mark in the positive column for moving closer to your loved one. In most cases, one or both parents work, already have children of their own and packing up to move and establish a new life creates more unnecessary stress when other solutions such as a daily check-in call are available.
Will you be able to find housing or are you going to live with your loved one? If you move in with your loved one, will you have private space dedicated to you? You can be a positive, engaged caregiver only if you have a quiet space to go to at the end of the day. Living in the same home as your loved one may work, but make sure that you have your own room.
It may sound silly, but what would your loved one want? Communication is key here. Having a heart-to-heart conversation about your concerns and their needs will help both sides come to a positive resolution. It’s important to listen to their wants and desires as well. As you consider whether or not to move ask yourself what your loved one’s opinion would be. What would they want you to do? It’s an important question to ask in order to honor them. Knowing there are available solutions, such as a daily check-in call, can support both sides. It can also relieve some of the guilt that is driving you to consider moving.
Deciding whether or not to move to care for a loved one is a serious, complex decision to make. Consider the questions we have posed here and talk to others you may know who have made a similar journey. Be sure to ask them how they were able to manage family, work and long-distance caregiving. You want your final decision to improve things for you, not make them more difficult.
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.