Navigation Links
For Many Americans, Caregiving a Long-Distance Burden
Date:8/31/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Caring for a parent or relative in the same zip code can be hard enough, but long-distance caregiving, which is becoming more common in an increasingly mobile society, brings with it added burdens.

By 2012, an estimated 14 million Americans will be long-distance caregivers, so many that some even have new names: "seagulls" and "pigeons."

These terms refer to family members who alight for short periods of time, make a mess for local caregivers and fly out. What they don't take into account are the pain, isolation and hassles that long-distance caregivers are dealing with on their own.

"They have unique issues," said Polly Mazanec, lead author of a paper appearing in a recent issue of Oncology Nursing Forum.

Those include financial concerns, since many people are borrowing from savings to travel at a moment's notice or to arrange child care or pet sitting during their absence, as well as emotional issues such as guilt, worry and anxiety.

"We found that long-distance caregivers were much more anxious than local caregivers, who could see what was happening [on a more frequent basis]," said Mazanec, an assistant professor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

"Long-distance caregivers end up feeling guilty. I deal with it on a daily basis," added Dr. Nasiya Ahmed, an assistant professor of geriatric and palliative medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Family caregiving has received a lot of attention recently, but not so much for those who have to do it at a distance.

"Here's this whole group of people out there that no one is helping and they're typically part of the sandwich generation, juggling their own families and careers," said Mazanec, who is also an advance practice oncology nurse at University Hospital's Case Medical Centers Seidman Cancer Center. "It's just a real challenge."

To start finding out what these challenges were, Mazanec and her colleagues interviewed 14 caregivers of parents with advanced cancer. The caregivers lived at least 100 miles from their ailing parents.

"Across the board, folks were pretty consistent in what they were telling us," said Mazanec, who is also an advance practice oncology nurse at University Hospital's Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center, also in Cleveland. "The biggest concerns were that they didn't know what's going on and felt very disconnected. They felt very much out of the loop."

They also weren't sure when was the best time to visit -- at the time of surgery or beginning of chemo -- and when they did arrive were often shocked at the changes they saw in their mom or dad.

The far-away relatives tended to mistrust information they were getting second- or third-hand from siblings or other parents, feeling that these relatives might be trying to protect them.

That's when they started asking questions about what was being done and what more could be done, upsetting their sisters, brothers and other family members who were nearby and had already been over this ground, perhaps several times.

But Mazanec feels that health care providers can do much to ease the distress of these "seagulls" and "pigeons," and thus reduce much of the distress to all parties.

Perhaps most importantly, more avenues of communication need to be opened up, she said.

"With patient permission, there's no reason why we couldn't share information [with the long-distance caregivers]," Mazanec said. "They want to hear from us what is really happening and not to have it watered down. They can certainly seek out the health care team if the health care team hasn't sought them out. Call. Email. Let them know they're out there."

"There's no reason why they can't be active participants in the care," she added.

"Maybe if they can't provide hands-on care, they could contribute by sending meals once a week, to empower them to feel part of the care, to seek out the health care team, to get information about what's going on and to feel a little more connected," Mazanec said.

Social workers can often provide a list of local resources.

Ahmed advises long-distance family members to visit as often as they can and if family and financial obligations prevent that, to have someone -- maybe a neighbor -- check on their parent at least once a week to provide updates.

Although this study looked only at caregivers of cancer patients, Mazanec feels much of the information gleaned here would be useful for caregivers in all kinds of situations.

"Information is power, and knowing what's happening helps people feel [they have] a little more control over something they have little control over," Mazanec said. "Although physical hands-on caregiving is very exhausting, emotional caregiving is actually more distressing than the physical. There are ways to feel less guilty and like you're contributing."

More information

The National Institute on Aging has more on long-distance caregiving.

SOURCES: Polly Mazanec, Ph.D., ACNP, assistant professor, nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, and advance practice oncology nurse, University Hospital's Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center, Cleveland; Nasiya Ahmed, M.D., assistant professor, geriatric and palliative medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; May 2011 Oncology Nursing Forum


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Low vitamin D levels seen as multiple sclerosis risk for African-Americans, UCSF study finds
2. An appeal to the caregiving values of rural women for breast cancer prevention
3. Sharing child caregiving may increase parental conflict, study finds
4. Health Advocate, Inc. Hosts Free Caregiving: The Impact on the Workplace Webinar
5. Women bear caregiving responsibility in cases of dependency in Spain
6. Long-Distance Runners May Have Endurance in Their Genes
7. Women Bear Greatest Burden of Alzheimers
8. Data evaluates rehospitalization and cost burden of AFib/atrial flutter
9. Potential new treatment to reduce the burden of atherosclerosis in acute coronary syndrome patients
10. Stigma Often Adds to Burden of Obesity
11. Burden of HIV Highest for Blacks, CDC Reports
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
For Many Americans, Caregiving a Long-Distance Burden
(Date:5/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... Sterling Global ... feature a unique and patented refillable hanging wipe dispenser. The campaign kick-off video is ... and will end June 25, 2016. The goal is to raise $1,000 per day ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... , ... To better understand the impact of lung cancer in women, the ... lung cancer. Today, the Lung Association announced Sharad Goyal, MD , as the recipient ... the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative, which raises awareness of the impact of ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... corporate identity and website at its “Transforming Outcomes” User Conference in Las Vegas ... reflect i2i’s ongoing success to set the market standard for meaningful population health ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... of communication enabled solutions and managed services today announced a strategic partnership ... enterprise contact center market. , Altura, one of Avaya’s largest Platinum Business ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... How to ... · Raleigh, NC, http://www.fdanews.com/humanerrordrugdevice , Human error is known to be the ... that human error will ever be totally eliminated, many human performance problems can be ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... HONG KONG , May 24, 2016 ... , the world , s ... and AV fistula intervention   OrbusNeich, a ... solutions, has expanded its portfolio to include products to ... balloons are the company,s first entry devices for lower ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... 2016 Les ... la première endoprothèse à double thérapie au ... portant sur les membres inférieurs et la ... entreprise mondiale spécialisée dans la fourniture de ... a élargi son portefeuille pour inclure des ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... May 24, 2016 Dutch surgeons have launched ... around the world and treat patients on a global scale. Medical ... , Asia and the US have already ... messaging and networking in a totally secure environment. Education  ... war zone working together with a surgeon at Harvard to treat ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: