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When my wife, Heather, began her battle with cancer, I was fortunate enough to be able to be with her for her surgery in Boston. But when cancer strikes a family, life unfortunately isn’t put on pause. Having to return to work while she went through her recovery process left me feeling helpless. However, I quickly learned that just because I was far away, didn’t mean I couldn’t still care for her in a meaningful way.

One of the hardest things about being a caregiver — whether for a parent, significant other, a child, or friend — is when a situation arises that prevents you from being physically by their side. You may feel guilty, frustrated, and a host of other negative emotions that will try to overcome you. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to manage the hardships that come with long-distance caregiving, allowing you to remain an invaluable source of support.

Communicate

Perhaps the greatest gift of the digital age is the endless array of communication technologies. Communication is key in any relationship, and becomes even more crucial when distance is thrown into the equation. Successful communication relies on participation from both people — the talking and listening needs to go both ways.

To help keep the lines open, try some of the following:

Control

As much as you may try, you cannot control everything — no matter how close or far you are from them. Caring for your loved one from far away, however, may make you feel like you have less control than ever. Just remember that it’s okay to not be able to do everything. When you are away, some of the things you can control and do for them include:

Cope

The most difficult part of long-distance caregiving is the emotional toll it can take. Guilt, stress, frustration, helplessness — you’ll likely feel it all.