Honeslty, it's going to be really hard to be a caregiver from such a long distance. How often are you able to visit? Is someone bringing food to the house for them to eat? Maybe you could get with some of their friends and create a meal schedule? This was something my sister put together that didn't require her to spend much time at my house. 3 or 4 days a week, someone would deliver food to us. This was a HUGE help!!
Adenocarcinoma, Lung Cancer Questions
Long Distance Care Giver
Asked by Daughter66 on Monday, May 13, 2013
Long Distance Care Giver
Mom has Stage 4 lung, spread to spine and kidney. She and dad live 960 miles away. I would take any "help" or suggestions on doing the caregiver thing long distance. The stress is getting to me....and its only been a month and 1/2.
8 Answers from the Community
Thats going to be hard. Can you ensure your Mom is at a Lung cancer speciality facility? There ar emany treatments and new ones' comming every day. Getting he the best care possible will be very important to your sanity. Once you have a plan in place it will be easier to schedule your time. Getting family and friends together and learning about resources in the community will be very important.
Hugs. Check to see if there is a visiting nurses service near where your parents live, they have many great programs to support patients and caregivers. Speak with your mom's oncology team and/or a social worker at the center she is being treated at they can help you and the rest of the family find out what services are available.
Another option might be to find a person who specializes in providing care to elder and ill people. We hired someone to help my father manage his health for a few month after my mother passed away, including finding part time in home care, he just needed someone to cook and clean a few days, he even found someone to spend nights in the spare bedroom, but my dad wasn't interested in that. We also consulted with him when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer. A percentage of his practice was providing services for individuals who lived too far from their parents to be there regularly. He took them to appoints, arranged for various in home services, etc.
Good luck, I can only imagine how stressful this is for you. My sisters and i lived in the same city as my parents and were able to be there as needed and it was very difficult, I can only imagine how much more stressful this all is being so far away.
You have received wonderful answers here already...I would only add that a trip is probably in order but I would be sure to set up as many appoinments as you can before you arrive so you can be present with your mom and dad and meet her team...you should definitely ask some difficult questions (your mom's prognosis, ? Hospice or palliative care, etc)...you will find it easier, but never easy, to manage things if you can at least let her team know you and how to reach you and how you can reach them (be sure mom let's them know they can discuss her case with you...you do not want HIPPA privacy laws preventing any communication.. If they are church-goers, their pastor may be able to help connect them with some meals, rides to appointments, etc...I do not envy you, I managed both my mom and dad's cancers until they passed and it was the hardest thing I have ever done...it was easier to manage my own treatments than theirs! I will be thinking of you and praying for your family...good luck and God bless!
Hi, I'm Aliza, the site's unofficial resident Med Librarian. The answers you've received here are very good. The only thing I might add is that I would if I were in your and your folks belong to a religious community, contact their clergyperson and ask if they're knowledgeable about the local chapter of whatever religious Charity applies-Catholic Charities, The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services or The Association of Protestant Welfare Agencies. I believe that there are social workers at all of these orgs (I know the Jewish Board has them) and they may be able to be very helpful in setting up home health care as well as coordinating insurance (social workers don't just do therapy). The clergyperson is also a great source (if your folks attend their congregation) for offering pastoral care and visits!
I do agree that an initial visit is probably required to get the wheels in motion for much of these things and that a lot of services depend on the state in which your folks reside. Some states are more generous than others when it comes to social services that are offered.
Wishing you well in a difficult situation,
If there's anything I can do for you (research of any kind, please let me know)
As much as you want it to be that way, there is no such thing as long distance caregiving.
Either go to them or arrange for someone else to oversee their day to day needs.
You can phone, you can visit, you can listen to their woes but you can't take care of them from 960 miles away.
You must choose.
Either give up your current life for a time and go to them or give up the responsibilities for their needs to someone else who you hire to be there in person in your stead.
If, as you say, the cancer is spreading and there is no other help you are seeking but what she already has, you need to arrange a trip, before too long, to say all those things you need to say prior to the final goodbye from this life.
I'm so very sorry for your troubles and woe.
I agree with geekling. I am a 24/7 caregiver for my husband ( age 61). It's very demanding of alot of your time... Day and night! You are going to be frazzled trying to do anything from your location. I think you may want to have a family meeting and address all your concerns and quickly establish a plan of action. One option would be to locate an oncologist in your area and have them live with or near you in a senior assisted facility. This is gonna be a major life changing event for you and none of the choices are easy. I wish you all the best, my heart goes out to you.
My mom lives 1200 miles away. It is hard for us both. She calls me everyday. Just hearing her voice & knowing she would be here in a min if i really need her helps me tremendously. She is my biggest support even being so far away. Her positive words daily helps me get thru the rough days. So as for you, if you can't be a hands-on caregiver, be the support for positive thinking. Encourage positive thoughts for her & be strong. It will help more than you think.