Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Understanding the Stress of Being a Distance Caregiver for Your Aging Parent

By Amy Felman

If you have noticed your parent is experiencing challenges or difficulties that keep them from staying safe, comfortable, or healthy in their own home, you may be considering becoming their family caregiver. If you live at a distance from your aging parent, stepping into this role may require even more preparation and awareness then if you lived closer. Understanding the challenges you will face as a distance caregiver, including the increase possibility of caregiver stress, allows you to plan ahead and put measures in place to reduce your stress, manage challenges effectively, and be the best caregiver possible for your aging parent.

Some issues of distance caregiving that may cause increased stress include:

  • Travel. If you live far from your parent, but still want to make sure you are physically with them to care for them as much as possible, that means travel. Travel is time-consuming, potentially costly, and stressful. It also requires you to take time away from other elements of your life, including your job, your home, your children, and your marriage
  • Being away from your parent. If you are not able to travel to be with your parent regularly, this means having to cope with being separated from them for potentially long periods of time. This can leave you feeling unsure about their condition, concerned about their health and safety, and more
  • Not staying up-to-date on their condition or challenges. The best way to know about your parent's needs and challenges is being able to observe them and their surroundings. When you are not with your aging parent on a regular basis, and don't have the opportunity to evaluate their home and their condition, you are not able to stay up to date on their needs. This makes it more difficult for you to modify your care approach, and ensure they have everything they need, especially if these needs change frequently such as in the case of a progressive disease
  • Feeling disconnected from your parent. Living at a distance doesn't just mean feeling separated from them physically. You may also feel separated from them emotionally. You may worry they do not feel loved or acknowledged enough, or that they are struggling with loneliness and isolation

Living at a distance from your senior is challenging, and can leave you feeling like you can't be the caregiver your parent needs. This is especially true if your aging parent is dealing with issues that challenge their safety and health, or that are progressive and will worsen over time. Fortunately, starting senior care for your aging parent can make this situation easier for both of you. With a senior home care services provider in the home with your parent, you know they have access to the personalized level of care, support, and assistance they need to manage their individual needs at all times. This care provider can be with your parent as much as they need to help them live a lifestyle that is as safe, healthy, comfortable, and active as possible, while managing health needs and supporting independence. You can also trust them to be your "eyes", letting you know when your parent's needs have changed or giving you updates so you can make meaningful changes to their care routine even when you are not able to be with them as frequently as you'd like to be.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Gibsonia, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 364-4663.