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10 survival strategies for long distance caring

The role of a carer can be difficult if you live a long distance from the person you are caring for. Here are 10 tips that may help.

Get organised

Buy a diary to record all the details for that person’s care needs. Record all arrangements, such as doctors’ appointments and social services visits. Pencil in alerts a week before in case you, or the person you care for, needs to prepare for that meeting. Keep a list of important phone numbers, such as relatives, doctors, pharmacies, and charities on the front page and keep the diary somewhere visible, perhaps by the home telephone, so it’s readily available should anyone need it.

Identify your informal network

Get to know people in the community where the person you care for lives and ask for their help. This could be other relatives, neighbours, family friends or members of any religious, community or social groups they belong to. Offer these people your contact details and ask them to call you if they spot a problem.

Investigate travel options

Plan for “care commutes” in advance. If you have a car, keep it in good condition with regular service checks and ensure you have breakdown recovery for anywhere in the UK. Look online for discounted train tickets - booking up to 3 months in advance could make you substantial savings.

Discuss legal and financial issues

These can be difficult topics to discuss, especially when you live at a distance, but making a plan for legal and financial care in advance helps ensure the person you care for maintains decision-making authority even when incapacitated. Having this plan established means that if it comes to re-location the person being cared for has previously agreed the decision.

Also long-term care commutes can be expensive and you’ll need to discuss how these costs can be funded. Can the person you care for make a contribution or can you access additional funding through a carers assessment?

Take care of necessary paperwork

Collect all legal, financial and insurance documents, including birth certificates, national insurance forms, marriage and divorce documents, wills and power of attorney papers. Identify bank accounts and all sources of income, all insurance papers for home, car or medical purposes and any pension or benefits paperwork. Review all these documents and update them if necessary, then file them in a lockable, secure cabinet. Keep a copy of all these documents in a safe place at your home. If necessary, you can call Royal Mail or go on to their website and have all post redirected to an alternative address.

Tap into the local resource network

Contact the local authority where the person you care for lives. The council can help identify what local services or charities can help you.

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