Going the Distance: How to Care for a Senior Parent Who Lives Far Away
Do you provide care for your senior parents? If so, then you know that this can be a challenge. But what about those who are for their parents from a distance? Caring for your senior parents who live far away from you can bring on a whole new set of obstacles, some that many don’t even think about!
But don’t worry, Home Care Assistance is ready to help you learn the logistics of long-distance senior care. We want to help you provide the best care for your senior parents and aging loved ones, no matter how far away they might be from you.
Read below for our tips to help you provide the best care for your elderly parents from a distance.
1. Assess the situation and know your options.
Your first step to providing care for your long-distance parents will be to get an overall assessment of their living situation and their state of health. To do this, you may need to ask their caregiver to provide you with frequent updates or speak with their current physicians.
You may also find it valuable to gather the whole family together to talk through the matter at hand. We encourage you to deeply discuss who will be responsible for what tasks, and when it will all take place. Create a schedule with relatives, and make sure that everyone understands the plan, especially for those siblings or relatives who live close to the senior in need.
For example, a sibling who lives closer to the parents might be tasked with checking in on them on a daily or weekly basis.
Once you are able to assess the situation, understanding your options will become clearer, and it will be easier to take the next step.
2. Get organized and automated.
After you figure out your options and understand the plan, what comes next? We recommend automation.
Do your parents pay bills? If so, set them up on autopay. What about services like prescription refills, grocery delivery, or newspaper subscriptions? For these situations, it would be best to enroll them in auto-renewal, so they do not have to worry about these regular errands and expenditures.
While you are organizing and automating these things for your senior loved ones, it may also be helpful to put yourself in their shoes. Since you are essentially running a second household, it can be helpful to ask yourself what YOU would want to be automated if you were a senior? Try to automate as much as you can, this can help them (and you) stay organized.
3. Keep in touch.
Visit, visit, visit! Try to spend time with your parents or senior loved ones as much as possible. This will help you to physically check on their well-being and assess anything else they might need. Seeing them in person will give you a good idea of what they require and what the next step should be. When you visit them, ask yourself: are they eating healthy? Do they exercise regularly? Are they staying safe around the house?
If you cannot visit with your parents as often as you would like, you may want to encourage other family or friends who live near them to drop by once in a while to spend time with them. They can evaluate the situation as well and report back to the family if things change.
If visiting in person is not possible, another great option is keeping in touch with your parents through technology, which is great for keeping everyone social from a distance! Encourage and teach your parents to use basic communication features, like texting, phone or video calls, and email. If your senior loved one has a question, they will be better able to contact you or someone who can aid them.
Make sure you communicate with them frequently through these modes. It will give them the opportunity to practice their technology skills, and could even help them in an emergency situation. If your parents need some assistance with technology, you can ask their caregiver to help them make a video call once in a while, or have them share your parents’ logs and notes with you online each day.
By putting these practices into play, you can feel connected and well-informed on your loved one’s situation, even if you don’t live close by. However, if things become overwhelming for you and your senior loved one requires more than just an occasional visit, it maybe time to ask for help. Here at Home Care Assistance, not only can we help you create a care plan that is just right for your aging loved ones, but we can provide them the right type of care. We can provide you and your family with a caregiver who will not just be a worker around the home, but a companion and friend through the years.
Are you ready to develop a personalized senior care plan for your senior parents? Home Care Assistance is here to help! Please call us to schedule your consultation and discuss your options.
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