Caring for an aging parent is often a challenging and emotional experience for adult children. Those who have elderly parents who live far away have a unique set of challenges as long distance caregivers. Not being close to aging parents often fills adult children with a sense of helplessness and loss of control. If you live an hour or more from an elderly loved one, you might be wondering what you can do to help. Even though you aren’t physically present on a daily basis, there areways you can help ensure your parent is being properly cared for. Consider the following tips for caring for aging parents long distance:
Have a discussion with family members. First thing’s first: schedule a meeting with all family members who are involved in your parent’s care. If distance is a factor, have a conference call or schedule a Skype date. Divide up duties, make a visitationschedule, and voice any concerns. Set up goals for your loved one’s care and discuss how you will determine if those goalsare being met. It’s a good idea to take notes during the meeting and then distribute them among family members. Involve your parent in the family meeting if possible.
Organization is key. There’s a lot of information you’ll want to have accessible in case of an emergency. Keep the following information organized in a safe spot:
- Details about any medical conditions your loved one suffers from
- A list of all medications your parent is currently taking
- Names and phone numbers of any doctors and specialists
- Name and phone number of your loved one’s pharmacy
- Insurance information, including policies and account numbers
- Important legal documents, including wills, powers of attorney, and social security cards
- Financial information including bank account info, a list of credit cards, and details about assets and debt.
Have productive visits. When it’s your turn to visit your loved one, make the experience enjoyable but productive. While you’re in town, you’ll have a chance to take your parent to any necessary appointments. You’ll also be able to assess any grocery or hygiene needs and shop accordingly. Additionally, use your time in your loved one’s house to check for any safety hazards that could result in injury. Finally, use this opportunity to monitor your parent’s health firsthand; check for any changes in mood, behavior, or abilities.
If you’d like more tips and information regarding caring for your aging loved ones from a distance, please contact us today!