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How to be a Good Long Distance Loved One??

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2013

I am the adult child of father recently diagnosed with cancer.  I live about 4 hr drive (one way) away from my parents and when he starts treatment I know I can't just stop by to see how he's doing.   Are there any other long distance loved ones out there?  Any good tips on how to be "present" and supportive from afar? 

Thanks much!


Posts: 765
Joined: Apr 2012

As a parent whose children (3) live about 4-5 hours away and are working, I realize that they can't really be of assistance.  Telephone calls at least weekly are great and if you have any time you can take off you could offer to help.  I know when I was driving my husband back and forth for his treatment, it became very tiring on both of us and we went thru this 2 different times.   The offers, whether we accept or reject, are very much appreciated.  Please remember to check with your father before visiting to see if he is up to visitors and please make sure no one is sick even a sinus infection because once they are under going chemo the patient can pick up anything.   At times we had to limit visitors and especially our grandchildren.

Wishing you and your family the best

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2014

Hi HB2000,

I've been a long distance caretaker for my mother with metastatic breast cancer for the past 4 years.  She has actually been a plane ride away, so weekend visits haven't even been an option to me.  I still have found though that phone calls and many regular visits home can do so much to cheer up your loved one.  I actually think there's something incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating when someone who is outside of the everyday situation is able to visit and bring some fresh joy and hope.

One of the most important things for survivorship is setting goals to look forward too.  Everytime I would come home my mom would make it a goal to look forward to and usually it would perk up her health and energy.

A phone call can be a special moment and connection with your loved one too.  Always try to make time to check in, even if it's just for 5 mintues.  I'm sure if you are close with your father it will be a happy boost just to hear your voice.

Sadly, that can't work forever.  I am now taking family medical leave and at home with my family to take care of my mother as her condition has worsened.  Sometimes it really is time to take a break and come home (if that can be an option for you).

Hope and love to you,


Posts: 66
Joined: May 2013

Hi HB2000,

I can only give you the perspective of what other individuals would say to me while my mom was having her chemo. I am lucky to have taken time off to take care of her. But for the other patients who had relative who lived far away these were some of the things they would have liked:

1. Phone calls-so they could vent, not vent, talk about their treatment, not talk about their treatment (you get the idea)

2. Care packages-a blanket, something they can tolerate to eat while on chemo, a funny card, socks that have a slip guard, a book, etc.

3. Some patients were bleeding money and in a financial crunch. Sometimes a few dollars in an envelope really helped them.

4. If you can make time to "make the trip" to see the person that is always great (As long as it's not a hardship for you). If you can, just get in there and HELP. Do the laundry, make some food, let the caregiver go out and take a break, help your loved one wash up, etc.

5. Let them know you love them every opportunity you get. That if they get scared, confused, anxious that you are always a call away.

Hope this kind of helps.

Warmest Regards,





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