Long distance caregiving is not impossible.
From an activity perspective, it would seem there is not much you can do with a friend or family member, but that is not the case. You can stay involved by talking and listening through many forms of communication.
Here are some suggestions to staying active at a distance with your loved one.
- Decide how you will stay connected. Today, there are many forms of communication. Make it part of your routine. I call my mother everyday about the same time of the day or she calls me. We are only about an hour apart, but it’s part of our daily routine.
- Write letters, send cards for every occasion, and send postcards from wherever you might be. Even if your older friend or family member doesn’t return letters or cards, still keep in touch.
- Use your computer to e-mail or Skype if your older family member or friend is connected electronically. Skype is so much more personable.
- For i-pad and i-phone users, use FaceTime to connect. I know many people who do. Use it not only for use at home, but connect from a child’s concert or sporting event or any other event an older person may not usually get to see.
- Make a phone call several times a week to stay in touch.
- Send and share pictures via the computer or by phone with whatever application you use.
- Surprise an older friend or family member with gifts, care packages, puzzles such as crosswords or fill-ins, photo albums, or other things of interest.
- Order a newspaper for a loved one from the hometown where he or she grew up or lived for a long period of time. I have a family member who orders the newspaper from the small hometown where he grew up. He keeps up with people he knew and the happenings in the area. Likewise, if there is a local magazine from the area where your loved one lives now or where they grew up, order that to help him stay connected to that area.
- If you and your family member are religious, say a short prayer together over the phone or read from a short devotional.
Here are more ideas for long distance caregiving: