How to care for your elders if you don’t live in the same state

Planning your parents’ care can be overwhelming, especially if you are alone or live in a different state.

So how do you plan ahead for long-distance caregiving?

Antonio Taguba spent his childhood in Wahiawa with six siblings. When they grew up, four of them moved to the mainland — two sisters in Arizona, a brother in Texas, a brother in Alabama, and he on the East Coast, serving as a retired U.S. Army major general.

“Living in Virginia, I was the farthest away. We had to schedule our shifts,” he said.

The siblings had to juggle caregiving duties when their mother was diagnosed with cancer and their father was diagnosed with dementia at the same time.

“Scheduling is easier said than done because airfare is not consistent. It’s peak and valley,” Taguba said.

Taguba now tours the nation as an AARP Community Ambassador, urging people to plan for the future now.

He offers several tips for people in similar situations where the family is spread out across the country.

He suggests siblings schedule caregiving shifts and gather important information about their parents, including medical conditions, finances, and healthcare wishes.

Research resources available in the community, like nursing facilities and senior centers. This takes time, and if siblings can’t give time, he suggests they might be able to give money.

“If a sibling cannot help, be present, perhaps additional funding from him,” Taguba said.

Caregiving is never easy for any family, but Taguba says to remember who you’re doing it for.

“It’s not about us. It’s about them, and it’s our obligation because it’s a family issue, a community issue, a statewide issue,” he said.

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