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How to Care for Loved Ones from Miles Away

In today’s world, it’s common for families and friends to be separated by great distances. At some point in their lives, your parents, grandparents or a loved one may need in-home care. Suddenly, you are faced with the challenge of long-distance caregiving.

The best approach to dealing with long-distance caregiving is to educate yourself and your family to prepare ahead of time.


Institutional Facilities vs. Their Home

Sometimes, nursing homes and retirement homes seem like the only options available for care. However, your loved ones can suffer significant emotional trauma when leaving their long-time home and familiar surroundings. Studies have shown that seniors thrive when they remain in their homes and familiar communities with friends and neighbors.


Choosing a Home Care Agency

Home care agencies offer different levels of service. Choose an agency that offers more than basic homemaker services. Eventually, your loved one will require personal care services (assistance with dressing, bathing, hygiene, etc.). The agency you choose should be bonded, insured and licensed (not all states require home care licensing – Arizona does not require it). Their caregivers should be experienced and screened, including a criminal background check. You or your loved one should be able to meet with the caregiver before you agree to services. Choose an agency that complies with HIPAA.


Can You Afford the Care They Need?

Since home care services are non-medical, they currently are not covered by Medicare. Home care services are generally paid individually or by long-term care insurance. Often, associations offer care and funds for members who suffer from a specific disease.

An excellent solution is the reverse mortgage. It allows your loved one access to funds from their home equity without touching their income.

Veterans and their spouses may qualify for the Disability Pension for Aid and Attendance, which provides funds for in-home care.

If you are still on the fence whether a loved one needs care or not, here are a few questions you can think about in order to help make a decision:


  • Does your loved one need assistance walking?
  • Has physical and/or emotional health been declining?
  • Is he or she able to prepare nutritious daily meals?
  • Is your loved one able to shop?
  • Can he or she manage bills and financial responsibilities?
  • Is he or she taking medications on time?
  • Is your loved one able to drive safely?
  • Is he or she in need of companionship?
  • Does he or she need help dressing or grooming?


It’s frustrating to be separated by distance and trying to manage the situation remotely, and often there is the feeling of guilt. It is possible to reduce anxieties by sharing the load with other family members. If your loved one is dealing with a specific illness (i.e. Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, stroke, etc.) contact the local association/support group. Use the services of a care manager, elder-law attorney or certified senior adviser. Most importantly, stay in contact with your loved one and his or her support group. Establish periodic phone calls and visits as often as possible. FBN




By Jordan Fox

Visiting Angels of Flagstaff is the leader in dementia and Alzheimer’s specialized care. Serving Flagstaff, Williams, Winslow, Payson and Show Low. For more information regarding home care and living assistance services visiting our website www.visitingangels.com/flagstaff.

Jordan fox is the director of the Flagstaff Office. He can be reached at jfox@visitingangels.com or 928-220-4100. The office is located at 718 N. Humphreys St. Ste 201, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.



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