Living a large distance away from an ill loved one can be frustrating, especially when you can see your sibling or the caregiver taking on a huge amount of stress and you can’t be there to help ease some of that responsibility.
With the number of hours that the caregiver is providing in caring for your mutual loved one, they can often feel unappreciated and in need of a few reassuring words. It’s best to always stay communicative with your family and to keep involved in the patient experience, however, there are some things you shouldn’t say when communicating with a caregiver who lives far away.
“You should..” It can be easy to try and tell the caregiver what they should be doing. Sometimes we often say it without even noticing that it’s fallen out of our mouth.
Examples such as “you should make sure to bathe mum every other day” or the famous “don’t forget that you should give yourself some free time too” are notorious for stressing out the caregiver because they imply that they should be doing more work or somehow find time to care for themselves without you offering solutions for them to carry it out.
Instead, offer to schedule a strategy Skype call where you can help build a calendar of care and have them assign any tasks that you can do remotely. And send a care package with some wine, a good book, and a gift certificate for a housekeeper.
“This is how I would do it if I were there..” Caregivers don’t want to feel like all the work they’re putting into caring for your loved one is wrong. They don’t want to know how you would do things differently.
Instead, let them know that anyone would have difficulty adjusting to a new family dynamic and that they’re doing the best they can and you will do your best to help and take on as much responsibility as you can.
“You seem stressed..” That’s because they are. By pointing out that the caregiver seems to be stressed or tired is only pointing out the obvious and can lead to the caregiver getting upset or angry – which they have every right to be.
Instead, offer to talk about it with them or take the advice from above or take on a little more responsibility to help ease the stress,
“I can’t right now, I’m too busy…” It’s a common excuse used by many family members who live far away and have less engagement in their loved one’s care. You may not realize the amount of hard-working going into their care and when you’re asked to help and respond saying you’re too busy, arrows will fly. It doesn’t matter if you work ten hours a day or have a family of your own, that caregiver probably has all that plus the care of your loved one – you are never more busy than them.
If you can’ help immediately, let them know and give them a time that’s not too far off that you will be available. And if you can’t provide help with a certain task, offer up an alternative job you can take on.
The collaborative and communication features of eFamily Room has created a user-friendly platform for families over large distances to share responsibility and keep up to date with the care of their loved ones. Reach out today to find out if we’re the right choice for your family.