Aging parents is something we all experience at some point in our lives — knowing what to expect can help make the difference in being prepared, especially if you live far away. By equipping yourself with as much knowledge of both your loved one’s health, as well as care options available, you’ll be able to best create a long-distance care strategy.
What can you really do from afar?
Providing care for a loved one can be a difficult task — when done from afar, it can sometimes feel insurmountable. But no matter the distance, rest assured there is still a lot you can do.
We’ve rounded up our top tips to keep in mind as a long-distance caregiver.
1. Use technology. Set a regular telephone or FaceTime schedule to keep in touch (because the best thing you can give a senior is your time). Also consider giving your elderly loved one a cell phone — along with a crash course on how to use it — for peace of mind in an emergency. Set up their contact list so they can easily dial whomever they may need.
2. Stay updated. Technology is again useful here, through teleconferencing with doctors, an assisted living team, and other pertinent contacts who have an active role in your parent’s life. Staying in-the-know of appointments and health updates will help to support your loved one.
3. Seek assistance. Whether financial assistance or that of a senior care professional, it’s okay to ask for help. No one is meant to do this alone. Now is the time to have that family meeting and explore different living arrangements. Find a Verve Senior Living Community near you and reach out — we can help take care of your loved ones when you can’t be there.
4. Be organized. Keep a record of all important information, including personal, health, financial, and legal. Organize the essential paperwork first, so you can fill in the blanks from there. Having a copy of everything and keeping things up to date will help should the unforeseen happen.
5. Have an emergency plan. Establishing a plan before a crisis occurs will help you to feel more in control should the time come. Have someone you trust close-by who you would be able to call on in the case of an emergency.
6. Stay connected — with your loved one as well as with other family members and friends. Keeping up communication goes a long way to strengthen relationships and elevate spirits. Sharing the emotional toll of long-distance care for elderly parents will help keep you from burning out or feeling guilt about “not being there”.
What should you do if your parents are neglecting your help?
Living far away from your parents isn’t selfish, though when the time comes that they need help more regularly, it can often feel that way. Should you move back home to take care of your parents? Ultimately, that is a decision for your family to make together. However, it’s very important to weigh all of your options and available resources before that needs to be considered.
Communities, such as Verve Senior Living, are dedicated to ensuring the best possible care for seniors. In some cases, they add professional care that we as family members can’t always provide. What we can do is be there for our loved ones by providing a strong emotional foundation so that everyone involved knows you’re in it together.