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Long-Distance Caregiving for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Taking care of concerns, such as a family member’s safety, nutrition and health, can be difficult when you live in another city, state or country. But getting organized and being prepared can go a long way in helping coordinate care from a distance.

Early-stage care

If the person with dementia is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and lives independently, you will need to reassess care needs at each visit.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there food in the refrigerator? Is it spoiled? Is the person eating regular meals?
  • What is the condition of the inside and the outside of the home? Has it changed?
  • Are the bills paid? Are there piles of unopened mail?
  • Do friends and relatives visit regularly?
  • What is the person’s personal appearance? Is the person bathing and grooming?
  • Is the person still able to drive safely?

Middle-stage and late-stage care

Early in the middle stages, it will become too difficult or dangerous for a person with Alzheimer’s to be left alone. The person will need supervision around the clock. During the late-stages, around-the-clock care needs will become more intensive. There are several care options, including having a caregiver provide care in the home, moving the person into the home of a relative, or moving the person to a residential care facility.

Regardless of which care arrangement you use, periodically assess the situation to make sure the needs of the person with dementia are being met. Ask yourself:

  • Is the person getting the help he or she needs with daily personal care, such as dressing, bathing and grooming?
  • Have safety precautions been taken throughout the living environment? Do additional precautions needs to be taken?
  • Does the person have safe transportation to doctor’s appointments and other events?
  • Is the person engaged in meaningful activities during the day?

Moving the person into your own home

If you are considering moving the person into your home, here are some things to think about:

  • Does he or she want to move? What about his or her spouse?
  • Is your home adapted to support the person?
  • Will someone be at home to care for the person?
  • How does the rest of the family feel about the move?
  • How will this move affect your job, family and finances?
  • What respite services are available in your community to assist you?
  • How will providing direct care for a person with dementia impact your own health?

Moving a person with Alzheimer’s disease from familiar surroundings may cause increased agitation and confusion. Make sure to talk with your loved one’s physician or a social worker and call the Alzheimer’s Association for assistance before making a decision.

Read more tips about providing care long-distance to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

This excerpt is republished material from the Alzheimer’s Association website.