Alzheimer’s Insights: Long distance Alzheimer’s caregivers can be overwhelming

Published 4:35 pm Saturday, October 26, 2019

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis can be both emotionally and financially taxing.  When you’re a long-distance caregiver, the task can seem absolutely overwhelming.  However, there are some steps to take that can help the person and ease caregiver concerns.

Determine what services are needed if the person lives alone

  • Visit the person to determine what kind of assistance he or she may need. 
  • Is there appropriate and adequate food available? 
  • Is the person eating regular meals? 
  • What is the condition of the living environment? Has it changed? 
  • Are the bills paid? 
  • Do friends and relatives visit regularly?
  • Is the person maintaining personal care routines, such as bathing and grooming? 
  • Is the person still able to drive safely? 


Turn to others for help

  • Establish an informal support system of family, friends, and neighbors that live near the person to ensure his or her safety and give the long-distance caregiver peace of mind. 
  • Ask that they regularly visit to check in with the person.  
  • Ask neighbors to be alert to anything unusual such as smoke or an alarm coming from the person’s home. 
  • Arrange for companion services or other support through faith communities, neighborhood groups, home health care services and volunteer organizations.

Make the most of visits

  • Make appointments with the person’s physicians, lawyers, and financial advisers during visits to facilitate decision making.  
  • Meet with neighbors, friends, and other relatives to hear observations about how the person is doing.  
  • Ask if there have been any behavioral changes, health problems or safety issues. 
  • Reconnect with the person by talking, listening to music, going for a walk or participating in activities you enjoy together.

When the person lives in a care facility

  • Communicate regularly with the care staff.  
  • Work with the managing nurse, physician and social worker to agree on a time when to get updates on the person’s condition and progress. 
  • Call family, friends or other visitors and ask for their observations about the person.
  • Set up an appointment in advance of visits to meet with all care staff who have primary responsibility for the person’s care.

 If you have questions, call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900 for more information.


The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. For more information, visit or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.


Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at