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Long-Distance Caregiving | Taking Care of Grandma

Long-Distance Caregiving | Taking Care of Grandma

I have so many wonderful childhood memories, thanks in part to my Grandma. I remember her sitting on the kitchen floor with me, playing a game of Jax. It was such a big deal when I was old enough to spend a week at her house during the summer. I was jealous of my older sister getting to do this, for the longest time. Grandma is much older now and our roles have reversed in many ways. Taking care of Grandma is now our responsibility. I’ve moved away from our childhood home, so two of my sisters are now spending time with Grandma and making sure she is well cared for. Being away from her, when she needs me the most, has been very difficult. Fortunately, I have found some great tips about long-distance caregiving.

Long-Distance Caregiving | Taking Care of Grandma
{Grandma during happier times.}

A few years back, my family had to make the difficult decision to have my grandmother moved to an assisted living facility. She was so against the idea, not wanting to leave her home of over 50 years. But it was no longer safe for my grandmother to live alone – there were a few too many falls, and she wasn’t thinking so clearly anymore. Grandma has been thriving in the assisted living facility. She is quite the social butterfly and has made some wonderful new friends to enjoy her meals with. I wish we had made the decision to move her there much earlier.

Unfortunately, Grandma’s circumstances have changed recently. She is currently in the hospital, after having a cancerous tumor removed from her colon. We’ve learned that she has stage 3 colon cancer which has metastasized to her lungs. Because of other medical conditions, her treatment options are very limited. Grandma has been talking about how much she misses having lunch with her lady friends at the assisted living facility. It’s going to be very difficult for my sister to have to tell her that she won’t be returning. Before long she’ll be leaving the hospital, and we’ll need to consider long-term care and find a new home for her where she can get the medical attention that she needs.

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Roasted chickpeas

It’s difficult to not feel helpless over being long-distance when Grandma needs me, but I am comforted knowing that both of my sisters and many other wonderful caregivers are with her.

View Comments (9)
    • Thanks so much, Liz! I’m trying to find comfort in knowing that she lived a long and wonderful life, full of love.

  • I am so sorry to hear about the recent health issues for your grandmother. My granny lived in a nursing home (she insisted on bypassing the assisted care facility) for two years before she passed in October. She too was a social butterfly and enjoyed being around everyone all the time.

  • So sorry to hear of your grandmother’s decline, but am glad for her that she has such an attentive, involved family, and for you, that you have sisters on the scene to keep things together and be with her until you can get there.

    My childhood was spent running the backroads of Louisiana with my mom, while she cared for her aging grandmother and then her mom. There used to even be a family tradition of adult children rotating stays at their parents’ homes or hosting the parents in their homes. Mom had two sisters, both also teachers with children, but one lived across the country and rarely made it home, and the other lived in the opposite corner of the state. Mom was the closest, at 200 miles away, so off we went. For my part, as a child, it was great to get to see them and help them. My own parents, now in their 80s, are in astoundingly good shape compared gto their peers. I’m very lucky.

  • All I can say is play and trust you’ll find the right place for your Grandma to recover and thrive again.
    I appreciate the link to my own experience when my Daddy needed long-term care.

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