Caregiving From Afar
For Canadian Armed Forces
Caregiving From Afar
• It is becoming increasingly common for family
members to care for their elderly relatives who
live in different parts of the country.
• Canadian Armed Forces families are often
posted and/or deployed away from their
• The key to successful long distance caregiving is:
Areas to consider when preparing for
• Learn about your relative’s medical condition
and the local eldercare services.
• The more you know about the available services
and your relative’s illness and treatment, the
better prepared you will be to manage your
Meet with Service Providers:
• Meet with your relative’s doctors, case managers,
and other service providers.
• Ask questions about your loved one’s condition and
• See if you can schedule occasional calls in order to
stay up to date with your relative’s medical care.
• Have your relative sign a release that will allow the
service providers to talk to you about all aspects of
your relative’s health and treatment.
• Know where your relative keeps their financial
• You will want to have information about all sources of
income, chequing and savings accounts, investment
accounts, monthly bills, and expenses.
• You may also need information for accountants, tax
preparers, and others who may have information about
your relative’s finances.
• Discuss with your family member about the possibility of
becoming a joint owner of any important assets so you
can manage your relative’s finances when they are not
longer able to.
• Request copies and know where your relative
stores the originals of important legal
documents such as: will, deed to the house,
and/or advance health care directive.
• Talk to your family member about granting you
the power of the attorney so that you have the
authority to legally act on the behalf of your
relative when they are no longer able to do so.
In the case of an emergency make sure that you
have a list of:
• All insurance policies
• The insurance carriers
• All insurance account numbers
Create a Network:
• A network of people will help you care for your
• Your network could include: family, neighbors,
friends, clergy, and others who might be trustworthy
and willing to help.
• This network of people could check in with your
relative regularly and be your contact in case of an
Geriatric Care Manager:
• Geriatric Care Managers are a profession that is
relatively new in Canada.
• They are hired privately by families
• Some extended benefit packages may cover this cost.
• Consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager to manage
your relative’s care when you are not able to.
• These professionals can evaluate your relative’s
situation and recommend and coordinate the
• Helping your relative to stay connected with
family and friends is an important part of
• Creative ideas to help him/her feel connected to
friends and family could include: weekly or bi-
weekly phone calls and/or drop a card or letter
in the mail at least once/month.
• If your elderly relative is computer literate you
could keep in touch via Facebook or Skype.