How to Care for Your Aging Parents from a Distance

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If you live away from your elderly parents because of professional or financial obligations, you’re like millions of others who’re forever looking for ways to provide better care to their parents from far away. Here are five ways to help your parents live well when you can’t visit them often.

Call them more

Whether you live in a distant city or even in a town close by, it can sometimes get difficult to visit your parents or have them over as much as you’d like to. While there is nothing like being there in person, the next best thing is to have frequent contact through text messages, phone calls, and the best of them all, video chats. Video calls have made it possible for long-distance families to see each other and stay connected with seniors living alone.

While a simple text message is a great way to let your parents know you’re thinking about them, a video chat once or twice a week gives them the assurance that you care for them and their well-being and that you have time for them. This confidence itself can have a positive effect on their mental and physical wellbeing.

Keep critical contact information handy

When you live in a different town, you’ll mostly be communicating with your parents, their doctors and caregivers by phone or email. To be on top of things, make a list of phone numbers of your parents’ physicians, insurance provider, home caregiver if they have one, close friends and the local emergency services. 

In addition, you’d want to have the next-door neighbors’ phone numbers on speed dial for times when you can’t reach your parents or need someone to assist them. Make the list easily accessible and make multiple copies in your devices as well as a couple of physical copies for your home and office desk. Share the list with your partner and a close friend so they can help when you’re traveling or unreachable.

Encourage self-reliance

When you know you can’t see your aging parents frequently, it helps to assist and guide them toward self-reliance and independent living by teaching them new skills, such as how to use a smartphone, how to order food via an app, how to book a cab, how to use a home security system, how to use online streaming services for entertainment, how to pay bills online, and more.

Small, everyday acts of self-care can make your parents feel independent and self-sufficient and enable them to take better care of each other and their home.

If you have one or both parents living alone, you may also want to get a good medical alert system so that emergency services and family can be notified in case of a medical emergency or other contingency. If you’re not sure how to choose one, use reliable online reviews to find the best medical alert system for your parents’ safety and wellbeing.

Get additional support

Today there is a reliable support system in place for elderly care. If you’ve been struggling with too many responsibilities, perhaps it’s time for you to consider options that will make your life less stressful and enable better care of your parents. Based on a senior’s current health and level of independence, you can have a caregiver visit them twice a week or, if they need ongoing assistance, appoint a full-time experienced nurse to stay with them. Hire someone to cook and clean for them if they could use help with chores.

If required, explore a good assisted living facility in your proximity for ongoing care and visit whenever possible. Talk to your parents and get their consent before arranging any type of assistance.

Be prepared for resistance

When someone has lived a certain way for decades, it can be difficult for them to embrace change, especially when it’s not of their own choosing and has been brought about by health problems or imposed upon them by concerned children. When you’re trying to create a plan for elderly care, brace yourself for resistance as you try and reorganize a senior’s life.

Whether it’s hiring the services of a health professional, offering to manage their finances or moving them to a new home, you’ll likely have a tough time convincing an elderly. The best way to go about any such decision is to discuss the matter calmly, explain how it will help improve their life and understand why they’re resisting. In a nutshell, stock up on patience and empathy to make things easier for everyone.