Sick loved one speaks on phone with long distance caregiver

Supporting Loved Ones from Afar: Practical Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers

Caring for a sick loved one who lives far away can be challenging, but you can still offer meaningful support and care from a distance. With the right approach and a little creativity, you can help your loved one feel cared for, connected, and supported. Here are some practical tips and resources to assist long-distance caregivers in providing support to their sick loved ones.

Support with Communication, Care, and Connection

Keeping in touch regularly is important for both you and your loved one. You can do this through phone calls, video chats, or messaging apps. It shows them that you are there for them and they are not alone. Listening to them and giving them emotional support lets them know that you understand and respect their feelings.

Using technology can bridge the gap between you and your loved one in many ways. Help them set up devices like tablets or smartphones, and show them how to use apps for talking, finding health information, or even online support groups. Consider FaceTime calls or setting up Zoom accounts to talk with each other, which can help people feel more connected than a phone call or a text.

Help Coordinate Medical Care

For many people, managing doctor appointments, treatment schedules, and medical records can be overwhelming. Helping out with scheduling appointments and organizing medical records can really ease your loved one’s stress and make sure they are keeping up with everything they need to do.

You can use online calendars, like Google or Apple, to keep track of appointments and medication reminders. It’s a handy way to stay on top of things and make sure nothing gets forgotten.

Offering to be the go-between for your loved one and their doctors can be a big help too. You can keep up-to-date on their treatment plans and any changes in their medications. If they are okay with it, you can join them for telemedicine appointments or make calls to their doctors to ask questions and to advocate on their behalf.  

Explore Local Resources

If you can, spend some time finding local help for your loved one. Look into home health care, support groups, or community programs that offer social activities and extra support. Contact their local Area Agency on Aging for information on local programs that may help your loved one. Also, Meals on Wheels not only brings food but also lets your loved one connect with others. A lot of people don’t know what is out there, so sharing these resources can be a big help.

Help with Practical Matters

Support your loved one by pitching in with everyday tasks like organizing paperwork or setting up rides for medical appointments. Offer to research and order medications or medical supplies for them. These days, a lot of medical records can be accessed online, with their permission, making access simple for you and others involved. You could even set up a special email for all of your loved one’s medical-related issues. Your loved one can ask for all test results and communications with providers or billing departments to be sent to this email. This can help cut their stress and make sure everything is organized well.

Reviewing medical bills, matching them to Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company, calling providers or insurance companies with questions, and appealing any denials of coverage are all practical things that can be super helpful and done from afar.

Completing forms for financial assistance programs is another thing that can be done remotely, and help save a loved one time and energy, which also helping them manage the cost of a cancer diagnosis.

Building a support network of people who live nearby is also important. You can use apps like Caring Village or Lotsa Helping Hands to create a care plan, share tasks, store documents, and keep everyone in the loop.

Even if someone’s far away, long-distance caregivers can still help by arranging meal deliveries through Uber Eats, Grubhub, or Door Dash or getting groceries delivered through an online service like Instacart or Amazon.

A support network could include neighbors, family members, friends or even local community or faith-based groups. Having someone nearby who can check in on your loved one can really give you peace of mind and make sure they’re getting all the care they need.

Plan Ahead

Having conversations about planning ahead, such as completing estate planning documents, with a sick loved one can be hard. But it is important to have these conversations. It helps make sure their wishes are known, even if there is a time in the future that they cannot speak for themselves, which can give everyone peace of mind.

Once they have these documents, you can help make sure they are stored safely and given to the correct people. For example, providing photocopies to their doctors or hospitals or saving them in an online drive, like a Google Drive or iCloud. To find more information on estate planning and advance health care directives, visit

And sometimes being prepared for the future is not just about these documents, but making sure the right information is with them. Especially in the case of an emergency. This includes information like their medical condition, any allergies, medications there are taking, emergency contact information, and the existence of advance planning documents.

This could be on a piece of paper placed on a refrigerator or in their wallet. Smart phones also have a place to store this information. For example, Android phones have a Safety & Emergency section under settings and Apple phones have a Medical ID under Health.  

Take Care of Yourself

It’s really important for long-distance caregivers to look after themselves, too. Recognize when you need a break and make sure you’re taking care of your own health. Lean on friends or join caregiver support groups, like Embracing Carers, for help. Take part in activities that make you feel good, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it.  

Caring for a sick loved one from far away can take some planning and effort. But by staying in touch, using technology, and offering support, you can make a real difference.

For more information on caregiving, visit our Caregiving Resources, and read A Practical Guide to Cancer Rights for Caregivers at

About Triage Cancer

Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.

We're glad you find this resource helpful! Please feel free to share it with your communities or to post a link on your organization's website. However, this content may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Triage Cancer. Please email us at  to request permission.  © 2024 Triage Cancer

Similar Posts You May Like To Read:

Monica Bryant