Seven Million Remote Caregivers (and rising)

In September 2010, Money magazine had an article about the challenges of caring for a parent remotely.  For those that do it, the challenge is an obvious one and the toll can be significant.  For the rest of us, here’s a few things to understand what they’re going through.

  • Long distance caregivers spend an average of $8,700 a year providing support (nearly 2x what those closer spend…largely due to travel costs).
  • 49% cut back on leisure activities.
  • 47% spend less on vacations.
  • 38% have reduced or stopped saving for their future.
  • 48% have used sick or vacation hours to care for their loved one.
  • 37% have had to either cut back on work hours or quit their job.
  • 17% had to take on an additional job or work more hours.

This can be a lot to ask especially for those still caring for young kids at the same time.  The article gives a few suggestions:

  • Frequent phone check-ins.
  • Skype or some other online video chat.
  • Local contacts who can help you keep an eye on them.
  • Meet their physicians and get a HIPAA consent form signed.
  • Look into what help they need – food delivery, transportation, cleaning, paying bills.
  • They suggest www.lotsahelpinghands.com for coordination.
  • They also suggest PointerWare and InTouchLink for simplifying computer interfaces for the elderly.
  • They also suggest contacting the local Agency on Aging.
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