Published: Jan 26, 2012 6:40 PM EST

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - As lifespans lengthen and the number of seniors rapidly grows, more Americans find themselves struggling to care for an elderly loved one from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
    
The National Institute on Aging estimates around 7 million Americans are long-distance caregivers. Aside from economic factors that often drive people far from their hometowns, shifting demographics in the country could exacerbate the issue.
    
Over the next four decades, the share of people 65 and older is expected to rapidly expand while the number of people under 20 will roughly hold steady. That means there will be a far smaller share of people between 20 and 64, the age group that most often is faced with caregiving.
    
Kristy Bryner is managing her mother's care from afar. She lives in Oregon but her 80-year-old mother lives 2,000 miles away in Ohio. She's constantly worrying about her mother's welfare.

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