How to Care for Aging Parents When You Can’t Be There

Your 1+1 Team
June 1, 2024

Taking care of elderly parents is already demanding, and doing it from far away adds another layer of complexity. Whether you live in a different city or state, the distance can make it hard to ensure your parents get the care they need. However, there are strategies to manage this responsibility effectively, alleviating your guilt and ensuring your parents are well-supported. Here are six practical tips for caring for aging parents from a distance.

  1. Organize a Family Meeting

Start by holding a family meeting, either in person or virtually. Include your parent, their spouse, your spouse, siblings, and other close relatives. Use this time to discuss and distribute responsibilities so no one feels overwhelmed. Assign tasks such as handling bills, managing finances, arranging transportation, finding local home repair services, and researching activities for seniors in their area. Also, decide who will make major decisions and have access to medical and financial information. Make sure everyone knows their role and responsibilities.

  1. Build a Support Network

You don’t have to handle everything on your own, especially from afar. Besides family members, identify your parents’ friends who can help with small tasks like grocery shopping, coffee visits, or attending local events. Encourage your parents to connect with neighbors who might assist with tasks like snow shoveling or home safety checks. Having a list of reliable contacts for home maintenance, housekeeping, medical needs, and home health aides is crucial. Knowing trusted professionals recommended by friends or neighbors ensures your parents get the help they need.

  1. Schedule Visits and Maintain Communication

Regular visits are important, even if they’re infrequent. Try to visit your parents in person as often as possible. These visits provide quality face-to-face time and allow you to assess their living situation directly.

When visits aren’t possible, use technology to stay connected. Schedule regular video or phone calls, and involve other family members if possible. These virtual interactions can include chatting, playing games, or watching movies together, helping to maintain a close relationship despite the distance.

  1. Promote Independence and Set Boundaries

As they age, your parents might become less active due to health or mobility issues. Encourage them to stay engaged by connecting with friends, pursuing hobbies, and attending community events. If they seem withdrawn, try to determine if it’s due to a mental block or a health issue they haven’t mentioned.

Setting boundaries is equally important. Your parents might rely on you for every need or contact you at inconvenient times. Be patient and understanding, but establish clear boundaries to maintain a healthy relationship. 

  1. Consider Other Living Arrangements

As your parent’s needs change, their care requirements might surpass what you can provide or coordinate. In such cases, look into other living arrangements like independent or assisted living communities. These facilities offer personalized care while allowing your parents to maintain their independence and social life. Researching and choosing the right community ensures your parents receive the appropriate level of care.

  1. Prepare for Emergencies

Lastly, it’s essential to have an emergency plan. Ensure your parents know who to contact in case of an urgent situation. Keep a list of emergency contacts, including nearby family members, friends, neighbors, medical professionals, and local services. This preparedness provides peace of mind and ensures quick action if needed.

Caring for aging parents from a distance is challenging but manageable with careful planning, communication, and support. With these strategies in place, you can ensure your parents receive the care they need, even from afar. 

1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.

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