Life as a Caregiver


LONG-DISTANCE

CaringKind has thousands of clients, all of whom bring unique stories and circumstances with them. But many share the same challenges. One long-distance caregiver shared her story and it reflects the struggles faced by so many:

Caregivers always try to do their best, so I continually asked myself, “Am I spending enough time with her? Am I doing enough research? Have I called enough long-term care facilities to check them out? Have I talked to enough doctors?” If only mom was here with me, things would be so much easier, but her move to Florida after retirement made seeing her and really knowing what is going on even more difficult. As demanding and exhausting as caregiving is, it’s especially hard doing it long-distance.

Frankly, things were working okay until mom had a health crisis and had to be moved to an assisted-living facility. Rushing down to Florida and finding just the right place was stressful and expensive. But mom was determined to stay in Florida and I was too tired to fight with her. I was also sad that she continued to miss family events like graduations and the births of her great grandchildren.

After that transition, I started to travel to Florida more often, which was huge burden. I had to handle her caregiving, her legal situation and housing decisions. And I had to ensure that I was not neglecting my own family, my job and other obligations. I continually asked myself, “When do I put myself and my own family’s needs ahead of my mother’s?” I had friends who had given up their whole lives to take care of their parents, but that wasn’t possible for me. I wanted to help mom as much as possible, but I couldn’t leave New York City to do it, so I just flew down as often as possible and hoped it would be enough.

Sadly, we then had the “event.” Mom had a stroke and her dementia became much worse. I flew down to Florida and brought her to New York City, placing her in a terrific nursing home, where she spent the last 15 months of her life. I probably saw her more in that period than in the previous three years. The end was comfortable and quick and I have no regrets about bringing her back. I only wish she had moved back earlier. Long-distance caregiving is not easy.