How to Be a Caregiver When You Live Far Away

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.


Our modern way of life means that family members often live at considerable distances from each other. On top of the everyday strain that this puts on family relations (from missing people and only being able to connect in person on special occasions), this puts a particular pressure on families when a change in health means that a loved one needs care or support and relatives aren't nearby to provide it. 

Although this is a difficult situation to be in, there are ways to navigate it that can help ease the pain of distance and keep you connected so you can provide care from a distance.

Stay aware of your loved one’s needs

The next time you see your loved one in person, take note of not just their physical health but how they are living. Is their home tidy and in good order? Are they looking after their personal grooming? Is there healthy food in the refrigerator? Also, check in with the neighbors and any of their friends who live in the area to see if they’ve noticed anything you should know about. 

Develop a plan that takes into account your family member's wishes

With a full picture of your loved one's health and well-being in place, you can put together a care plan that includes your own role as well as other key figures (such as other family members and healthcare providers). Your loved one and their wishes should take precedence here unless they are in a position where they are unable to make decisions on their own behalf.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver

A professional hospice care provider can support and care for your loved one’s health, well-being, and safety in a number of ways. This may include daily tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, light housework, and accompanying them to appointments. Many people find that hiring a caregiver increases everyone’s peace of mind.

Maintain your connection with your loved one

Just because you’re far away doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your loved one. There are several ways to stay in touch and nurture your bond, such as phone calls, email, online chats, and video calls. Don’t forget about good old-fashioned cards and letters—they are almost always a welcome surprise in one’s mailbox.

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