Distance Caregiving: New Technology & Accessible Resources for Taking Care of Loved Ones

With roughly five to seven million distance caregivers, new resources may be accessible to alleviate the stress that comes with trying to take care of a loved one from a thousand miles (or more) away.

In an article published by the New York Times Dr. Douglas, the head of a new federally funded clinical trial on offering videoconferencing to distance caregivers, said, “Distance caregivers, compared to local caregivers, have higher stress, feel less support, have higher anxiety and more burden. It’s a group that hasn’t been well recognized. We haven’t really done a really good job up until this point in terms of trying to provide services that in some way make being a distance caregiver less stressful and more meaningful.”

“I do see a lot of promise in this,” says William Dale, M.D.,  a geriatrician and palliative medicine specialist at City of Hope National Medical Center who was interviewed in an article for AARP. He can envision devices helping with tasks such as reminding patients to take medicines, to eat or go for a walk. “I imagine it being useful, especially if they are in the early stages of physical or cognitive decline,” he says.

While convenient resources like videoconferencing or robots sound promising, most of the nation isn’t there yet in terms of accessible distance caregiving technology. However, there are other informational resources. The American Cancer Society provides an Interactive Caregiver Resource Guide that helps caregivers learn how to care for themselves, better understand what your loved one is going through, develop skills for coping and caring, take steps to help protect your health and well-being, and more.

Lotsa Helping Hands is an organization that connects caregivers who need help to people who want to provide help and offers tools to help caregivers coordinate their caregiving teams online or with a mobile app.

CancerCare.org also has many helpful resources for caregivers, including support groups, counseling, educational workshops, and more!

As a distance caregiver, if you find yourself struggling with topics like health insurance, financial issues, stress, and more, Triage Cancer has many resources to get you the help and information you need.

You can also sign up for our free webinar on managing stresson November 15th.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org