As I’ve mentioned before, long-term care is something I think about because I see my parents and my in-laws dealing with issues related to long-term care with their parents. We’ve previously discussed what long-term care insurance is, whether and when to buy long-term care insurance, the cost of long-term care, and finding help for caregivers.
But what if you don’t live near your loved one who needs care? This is a very real and personal concern of mine, because my mother doesn’t live near her mother, and I don’t live particularly close to my parents. My mother is lucky enough to have a sister who lives with their mom, so my grandmother is really well taken care of – but even then, it’s difficult. My aunt has to see when my mom is available to visit in order to plan her overnight trips for work, and it’s difficult for my mom to step in for my aunt since she’s not there all the time and disrupts their routine.
I’m an only child, so I won’t have a sibling or two (or more) to share the caregiving with. And being many miles apart makes me wonder if I’ll be able to adequately care for my parents when they need me. I always have the option of moving them closer to me, of course, but I wouldn’t want to do that if it went against their wishes.
Fortunately, there are some resources to help plan – and that seems to be the real key: planning. The AARP has a great recommendation for creating a “Care Notebook” with all of the important information – doctors’ contact info, medical history, community resources, and so on. There’s a more detailed list of tips for long-distance caregiving, and a searchable list of caregivers by region so you can find someone in the area of your loved one. And has emphasized the importance of preparing for a future that includes aging parents.
I’m lucky enough that my parents are in good health, and I should have years in which to get ready for my role as a possible long-distance, long-term caregiver. But the time to start preparing is now.