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What to Do When Your Loved One Needs Long Distance Care

The email from my father’s wife in Connecticut was short and direct. "I need help." My father’s moderate dementia, confusion, and poor ambulation had gotten to the point that he could no longer stay alone. He was at risk of falling, was unable to prepare food for himself, and at times became disoriented.

For years I lived a train ride away from them in NYC. In 2000 I moved with their enthusiastic blessings to start a life with my husband in CA. My siblings are settled with jobs and families in the mid- and southeastern US. My father’s wife is fit and healthy but housebound by his needs. She needed respite.

Scenarios like mine play out each and every day in thousands of American’s lives. How do you manage this situation without picking up and moving your family or your parent?
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Mariella Dibble and Silky

Mariella Dibble got her first Guide Dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind when she was 62. Now at 88, she’s on her third and is still on the go. "They keep me busy – I get my exercise! And they make me happy! Especially this one," she said, affectionately patting her Guide Dog, Silky, "This one is wonderful. I'm hardly out of bed in the morning and she has done something to put a smile on my face."

A birth defect dramatically reduced Mariella's vision. She's been legally blind since 1960, but she can see some shapes and colors, mostly with her peripheral vision. "For years I didn't think I would be able to get a Guide Dog since I have some vision." She was thrilled to find out she was wrong.
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