Family Member Communication: In-town vs. Out-of-town

In-town vs Out-of-town

In the stress of sharing caregiving responsibilities and having to make important decisions, it’s helpful to be understanding of each family members way of coping with the situation of an aging loved one.

This is by no means an easy task. It is hard to take a step back and look at this type of situation objectively. Many times, that is why our clients called us in the first place. We are able to properly look at the entire situation and use our expertise, knowledge and resources to guide your entire family. 

Here are some helpful guides for identifying and working with family members in town and far away.


This individual is overwhelmed with tasks, no matter how small.  Even if it seems like they aren’t doing that much, the knowledge of all there is to be done, hangs over their head and weighs them down. They usually feel responsible and accountable to other siblings and doesn’t want to be second-guessed because they don’t want to let them down.


Strategies to remember:

  • Find ways to keep out of town family members in the loop, such as weekly emails or an online portal everyone can access
  • Ask specifically for what you need help with during a visit and then let go of how the job gets done
  • You WILL burn out if you don’t get some help, think about what your siblings are good at


This individual may have moved out of town for a reason to begin with, lots of guilt. Often perceived to sweep into town, complain about how things are going, engage in some grandiose activities and then leave again; often in denial about progression of disease, but also most likely to notice changes from one visit to the next.


 Strategies to remember:

  • Recognize the limits on your ability to impact based on distance and support the in-town sibling in whatever way you can (praise, money, visits)
  • Offer to do something you can do from afar (regular phone calls to your loved one, managing the finances, making phone calls, organizing legal affairs, managing insurance details)


Are you Emotional or Rational?