By Susie Macrae
Caring for an aging parent can be both difficult and emotionally distressing. This caregiving becomes more challenging and complicated when families are separated by hundreds of miles. The National Institute on Aging estimates that there may be as many as seven million people providing long-distance care in the United States. While the emotional aspects of deteriorating physical and mental health are tremendous, the financial aspects that are compounded due to distance can become overwhelming.
With people living longer and retiring to warmer climates, more and more people are finding themselves in this difficult situation. For many, having mom or dad move in is no longer an option. Busy lives and demanding careers make it difficult to stay on top of the medical needs, and have the critical information necessary to make difficult decisions.
There are many resources that offer guides for long-distance caregivers, including the Family Caregiver Alliance, part of the National Center on Caregiving. Although these resources are useful, it is still a challenge to know what is going on 24/7 and have the knowledge to offer help when most needed. As seniors become more tech savvy, and wearable devices become available to the general population, it will be easier to monitor a parent’s health from a distance. With a window into the home, baby boomers will be able to understand what is happening in real time and be able to coordinate care more effectively.