A friend recently encouraged me to define my role as a long-distance caregiver. How would a defined role help me deal with my guilt and anxiety whenever I drive away from Mom?
Certainly, those who care full-time for Alzheimers and/or dementia patients have the greatest stress. It is rightly described as the 36-hour day.
Yet each person in the family is affected in some way by this horrific disease that takes away our loved ones piece by fractured piece.
As the LDC in my family, I live 250 miles away from Mom. The rest of my family lives in the same area, our wonderful and cozy home town of Enid, Oklahoma.
For years, I have driven I-35 South on major holidays and whenever I could pull away from ministry here in Kansas. Now that Mom lives in assisted living, I still try to observe holidays and any other important family events. But I can’t be there all the time. Thus, the necessity of my title – the LDC.
What then is my job description? How can I best encourage my siblings and support them from such a distance? How can I help Mom or is that beyond possibility?
I believe my job description includes five topics, so I plan to focus on each of these in the coming weeks. The topics include: Keep in Regular Contact, Research for New Helps, Observe the Changes, Listen to the Caregivers and Pray.
Together, we’ll look at each topic and then discuss it. I’m interested to hear from other LDCs out there. How do you deal with being the long-distance caregiver? Let’s do this together and encourage each other in the process.
For in the end, our role is to enjoy our loved ones as long as possible and not kill ourselves in the process. We know that caregiving is stressful, but if we do it right – we can be a blessing to each other and make it through this unraveling journey.
Let me hear from you. We’re in this together.