Living at a distance from your aging parents, whether you’re across the state or across the country, can make recognizing and assisting with care needs a challenge. Having a plan in place for your parents’ care when needs arise, organizing a local network for check-ins, and taking some assessment steps when you visit can provide a sense of organization and peace of mind.
Here are some important aspects of and tips for caring for a loved one from a distance.
Create a Plan Ahead of Time
- The What-Ifs: Run through some “what if” scenarios with your parents. “What if you break a hip? What if you lose the ability to drive?” etc. Where would they prefer to live or receive care when the need arises?
- Funding Care: How will you fund care? What financial assets or outside assistance are available to your parents?
- Decide When to Implement the Plan: How will you know, as a family, when it is time to make the transition into care?
Knowing these important aspects in advance can help both you and your parents envision the future of their care and better prepare for the journey ahead.
Organize a Local Network for Check-Ins
While having a plan in place will help your family prepare for the future, it can still be difficult to know how your parents are actually getting along day-to-day. When you can’t travel regularly to visit with your parents, the following tips can help you get a better assessment of their health and possible care needs:
- Maintain communication with your parents’ physician to stay apprised of any changes that might indicate a need for assistance. (Note: You will need to sign a HIPAA Release of Information form with your parents’ physician in order to discuss conditions openly.)
- Check in regularly with your parents via phone or even Skype.
- Have a network of trusted friends or family members in your parents’ area who can visit with them from time to time, and let them know how to reach you should any issues arise.
- Stay in touch regularly with this network of friends. They can often help you recognize health issues as they arise.
Making the Most Out of Visits
- Schedule any necessary appointments ahead of your visit – meeting with doctors, financial planners, home improvement specialists, etc.
- Take your parents out while you’re visiting to assess how they get along outside the home.
- Assess any safety issues in the home – door and window locks, tripping hazards, lighting, stairs, etc. – and create a plan to address these potential hazards before they become a problem.
- Visit with your parents’ friends or neighbors to find out if they’ve noticed anything that might be a cause for concern.
How a Home Care Agency or Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) Can Help
When you can’t be there to assess your loved ones’ care or schedule necessary appointments, a professional home care agency or GCM can help you by:
- Doing an in-home assessment to identify care needs or home modifications that need to be addressed for safety purposes
- Monitor your parents on an ongoing basis to identify changes in health or behavior
- Provide in-home care services based on your parents’ needs – light housekeeping, medication reminders, bathing/grooming assistance, transportation, meal planning, etc.
- Facilitate any financial, legal, or medical services that may be needed
- Provide health coaching to support the doctor’s instructions
- Assist with medication reminders and education
- Act as a moderator or liaison for your family
- And much more
At Cantata Adult Life Services, we understand the difficulties and worries that arise when you live at a distance from your aging loved ones, which is why we work hard to bridge the gaps and help your family attain the peace of mind that comes from knowing your parents are in excellent hands.
Cantata Adult Life Services believes in and facilitates active living and the continuation of healthy relationships to help your loved ones maintain a harmonious and naturally fulfilling life.
Contact us at 708-485-1155 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to start your loved ones’ care plan today!