Long distance caregiving. I have traveled 6,000 miles in 2 months and my mom won't consider moving.

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Mom lives 500 miles away in assisted living. I've traveled 6,000 miles plus in past two months to care for her, yet she won't consider moving nearer and my sister (also long distance but not a frequent caregiver) also opposes the move. This has been going on for years now, though visits are at top level ever due to mom's frequent falls. We have a caregiver who comes in daily, but I don't feel I can not go when mom's in the hospital. She has a "lifecare" plan and is vested in her condo/apartment but doesn't really have many close friends in her community and seems lonely/depressed.


I tried the long distance caregiving scenario for several years....and Mom was across the country from me. There was family in the area, but no one wanted to step up to help. The last time I visited her, she looked like a ghost so I finally convinced her to move near me.
It has had its positives and negatives. Mom got better care, but she is isolated because she just knows me and my hub. And she cannot get out as much.
You have two choices: either move her near you or depend more on the staff at her assisted living center to provide the care that she is paying for. That way you can stay in touch with the staff to make sure she is getting whatever she needs. Then, you can go back to being the daughter who just visits for fun.
You cannot keep flying into her town whenever she has an "event." Talk to her about how important it is for you to be able to be active in her care, but that you can no longer keep up this pace.
Have you asked her outright if she would like to live near you? Have you gathered brochures and visited local ALFs? It is so hard to discuss these things in the abstract.
In the end, you may have to use tough love and insist that she move near you. Btw, the reason that your sister hasn't stepped up is because she knows that you will take care of everything. You need to have a heart-to-heart with her. If you move your mom near you, you will be 100% her caregiver. Make sure that your sister is on board to come and give you breaks several times a year.
There are never any perfect solutions to caregiving....you just have to make the best choices at the time.
good luck
Thanks for your comments. Mom refuses to even consider/visit assisted living in my area. I may have to use that tough love you spoke of but she's a pretty tough old bird herself and won't budge from her current nest.
Oh, by the way, I've mostly been driving the 1,000 mile round trips, not flying because it takes so long and costs so much.
dd: You are driving 1,000 miles?? Woweee, I hope a change is right around the corner. Caring for your Mom does not mean taking these extreme measures...you will burnout fast! When family members age their world shrinks and the person who steps up to the plate gets to do EVERYTHING. If you are new to caregiving, read all the posts in the forum and set your boundaries now.
Sometimes it takes increments for a parent to get used to a new idea. My mom used to call it "planting the seed." Tell your mom that these round trips are taking their toll on you and that you need to devise another plane. Go ahead and gather the ALF info and leave it with her the next time you visit. Don't jump in the car everytime she needs something...she needs to see you as her daughter not the unpaid gopher.
good luck...I hope you find a good solution.

Her ALF is supposed to ensure her health, SAFETY, and well-being. You, as her loving daughter, are supposed to make sure that support network is still viable.

Moving with you, in my opinion, is tantamount to uprooting her from familiar people, places, and things. She might not have as many "close" friends/relationships as you'd like, and is probably depressed because her body isn't holding up as it used to. But whether you like it or not she has a right to live the rest of her years with dignity and a modicum of independence. ... Ultimately, it's her choice.

I take my hat off to you and your sibling for epitomizing what caregiving should be all about: respect and unconditional love.

Best of luck my friend, and a warm hug to your Mom.

-- Ed
You might have to give her the option of placement in a nursing home or a move closer to you unfortauntily she does not have the choice if often you have to pick up and drive to where she is when a problems occures-next time there is a crisis let her be taken to the hospital and you contact the social worker assigned to her and let her explain to her the solution-now she knows you will come to her rescue and she get to call the shots.
With the life care plan - do they have other facilities near you with the same company so she does not lose her entire investment (which may have been huge...)? Long distance caregiving is SO hard and so limited despite your best efforts - and unless you can trust the facility to call you with everything they should call you about, its awful. I could trust my dad's but not my mom's and finally moved Mom after Dad passed on. It was a loss of two people who still visited her in Pittsburgh - and she was a Pittsburgh girl all her life and misses it some - but a gain of two grandkids who could hardly ever come with me when I drove or flew from LIttle Rock every 4-6 weeks or so. Once, I could not even get there when she went into the hospital, and since she could not tell them everything she ould, despite having lots of written information prepared, some things were not done right for her based on innaccurate verbal reports from the facility. My mom used to be able to use a cell phone to call me, which helped for a while, but had a hard time with it and can't do it at all anymore besides. Now at least the family can see her as often as she and we want, and as things are getting closer to the end, I think it was the right thing though I felt so conflicted over it for so long, especially when things did not go well for her health wise shortly afterwards. I was amazed to look at it, but we spent several thousand dolars on the travel expenses over the three years plus I did it. I hope that helps - there are a lot of things to consider! Either decision could be the right one for you and Mom. If she stays in place - couldn't they step up the level of care to prevent the falls and hospitalizations?

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