When it comes to caring for an aging parent, living an hour, state, or even a continent away can present unique challenges. Even though you want to be there for your parent, the logistics can get in the way.
You may find yourself worrying about your parent’s health, wellbeing, safety, and how they are coping with day-to-day tasks. Fortunately, senior care has become easier thanks to evolving technology – and you can take advantage of it even if you’re far away.
Read on to find out how you can be there for your senior parent in their time of need.
Setting Up a Security System
Evolving technology has made it easier than ever to check in with your loved ones – even if you’re far away. If your parent lives alone, you can arrange to have a security system installed in their home so you can monitor them from a distance.
With video surveillance that you can tune into from your PC or phone and the best medical alert systems, you can make sure your parent is safe. If your parent lives in an assisted living facility, you can enquire about the security measures they put in place to give you peace of mind.
Assessing the Situation
You’ll need to assess your parent’s situation – which means knowing their state of health and what kind of environment they are living in.
If you live far away, you may need to speak to their physician over the phone, have someone else report on how they are driving, and ask someone to go in to check if their nutritional and personal needs are being met. Once you have this information, you can start determining what kind of living situation and long-term care your parent requires.
Knowing the Options
Deciding on the best living situation for your parent will depend on how healthy and independent they are – but many people are surprised about how many options are available for senior care. Many assisted living options are available; what you choose will depend on your parent’s needs.
Some assisted living facilities are suited for more independent seniors who only need a caregiver to check in a few times a week. Others offer direct 24-hour care overseen by skilled nurses. Once you’ve researched the options available, you can make an informed decision about what’s best in the long term for your parent’s specific needs.
Having Family Meetings
If you have other family members or siblings, they should also be involved in your parent’s care. It’s vital to hold a family meeting to make sure everyone agrees about how to move forward. During the family meeting, lay everything on the table.
Present all the information you discovered when assessing your parent’s situation and allow every family member to discuss options and possible solutions. It’s also important to draw up a roster of duties so that the responsibility of your aging parent’s care is distributed.
Gathering Contact Information
When you live far away, most of the contact you have with your parent’s healthcare providers will be via phone. It’s helpful to make a list with all of your parents’ medical professionals – from their primary physician and nurse to their other caregivers.
You should also have the contact details of your parent’s insurance provider, their local emergency services, and someone who would be able to check in on them at short notice – this could be one of your parent’s friends, a family member, a neighbor, or a family friend.
Creating an Emergency Plan
Planning for an emergency before it happens will help you be more prepared to deal with the situation—research which airlines have direct flights and set some money aside for emergency travel if the need arises.
You should also talk your parent through what to do during a natural disaster, make a first aid box they can keep nearby, and create an emergency supply kit that they can access easily.
Keeping in Touch
When you live far away from a family member, it’s important to stay in touch. You can call them regularly, email them to check in, and schedule regular video chats to give you peace of mind and let them know you care.
In the modern age, it’s common for families to be scattered across states or even continents. And, although it can be difficult, having the right strategy to deal with your aging parent’s care from a distance can help both of you lead happy, safe, and fulfilled lives.