Caregivers have little time for anything more than caregiving; which is part of the reason that so many do not know about many benefits which are just waiting to be claimed. Kind of like that old adage ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’; many family members and friends want to help but cannot see how they can help. This is especially true of the long-distance family member.
Let’s set this up for a very simple example; Mom and Dad live in Seattle. Family discovers that Dad has dementia (right now the issue is not which kind of dementia) and Mom has been his caregiver and protector for quite some time. Visits to the home did not reveal this as they were short visits less than 5 days and Mom just went about her normal days helping Dad without the knowledge of the situation being unveiled. Many times this is not a hiding of the situation; simply that Mom has been in charge for so long with greater and great responsibility; it is not a conscious action.
Upon the family finding out there is this thrust to help, which is met with some resistance. Now everyone drops back and may even no longer offer the help due to hurt feelings or a lack of understanding. Here is what can be done: quietly begin to gather information and find resources which Mom does not have the time or at this point strength to do. Do not run to her every time a resource is found, rather casually drop information when the conversation is open. As time goes by, every bit of those resources will be valuable. And living away from the caregiving will allow for gathering information by the internet, check with local hospitals for support info. and find a support group which will help provide information.
The resources can be collected by looking at information available: What happens if Mom gets sick? Was dad a veteran? What kind of work did Dad do? Is there Respite offered within the community they live in? Do they still visit with friends? Is there someone living in the community who can help us with the needs, so we can begin? This is just a few questions which can be answered from close to home or afar. This is a journey and a mission which will first seem insurmountable and an avalanche only to provide for slow rolling river with beautiful landscape and wonderful memories. This is how everyone can help.