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Dear Friends

Summer Plans When You're
a Long-Distance Caregiver

Week of June 16, 2014
Prayer Requests

Dear Friends,

Your friends, neighbors and co-workers may be talking about upcoming vacation travel plans, but if you're a "long-distance caregiver" your time off may mean heading out to spend time with an aging parent who lives in another part of the country.

These are some suggestions to consider:

--Plan ahead. Maybe you want to call Dad’s doctor and others working with him and—with your parent’s permission—arrange appointments to discuss how he’s doing. If possible, include your father in any meetings.

--Be prepared for medical questions. When you do meet the doctor, have your list of questions and concerns ready, based on the what Mom has said—and not said—during your telephone conversations, on what you have observed during this visit with her, and on the most current assessment.

--Don’t panic. You may encounter what seem like drastic changes, including a great deal of deterioration. Because you haven’t witnessed those changes on a day-by-day or week-by-week basis, the difference between now and six months ago may seem more startling to you than to your parent or a sibling who has been around more frequently. Their failure to mention these changes to you does not mean they have been hiding them from you, they simply may not see them. You each have a unique perspective; all are helpful when trying to make an accurate evaluation.

--Don’t charge into town with all the answers. This will often meet stiff resistance, not just from Dad but from your siblings who may live closer and also have been playing a role in taking care of him. Ask how you can help and offer suggestions. Work with your father and siblings.

--Think small. Prioritize the needs. Begin with suggestions that are least threatening and that allow your parent the greatest amount of independence. You are not going to fix all the problems in one visit. Give yourself time. Becoming agitated with yourself, your parent or your siblings only gets in the way.

Your role is something new not just to you but to our society. In the past, most extended family members lived close to one another and those who did move far away returned infrequently, if at all. Modern means of transportation and communication have made our world smaller and the role of long-distance caregiver possible.

You can read more about this topic here. It's one of the many fliers that are available on our site.

- - -

This week we're so pleased to welcome Nancy W. of California as newest member of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep her and her intentions in your prayers. She has promised to pray for you and yours.

Again we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include and You can find out more about becoming a member here.

No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).

You can:

sign up on-line here

or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)

or print and mail an application form.

God bless you!


Past 'Dear Friends" Letters