Long-distance caregiving can be an emotional burden

Lisa Wurth

August 26, 2011

Baby boomers who live in a different city or state from their aging parents can often become over-stressed while trying to provide care for their loved one. According to a recent report titled Lack of Communication and Control: Experiences of Distance Caregivers of Parents with Advanced Cancer, the burdens from long-distance caregiving are becoming more widespread, as individuals in the U.S. are living longer.

Lead study author Dr. Polly Mazanec and her colleagues write that those who are trying to care for a loved one from afar have a hard time deciding on when to visit or contact their parent, feel uncertain in their duties, and overall wanted more information on how to help manage their loved one's aging.

There are some ways to combat this issue, however. "More technologically complex interventions, such as the computer based technology of webcams, might provide the opportunity for distance caregivers to be present at physician visits, possibly improving communication and decreasing fears of not knowing," the authors wrote in their report.

Another piece of technology that may provide solace for distance caregivers is a medical alarm. These systems ensure that, in the case of an accident, older adults will be able to contact a personal emergency response team. 

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