It is said that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but long-distance care for aging parents may cause additional feelings: worry, concern, and helplessness, to mention a few. It’s hard to know exactly how your senior loved ones are doing through phone calls, video chats, emails, and letters. There are things you can do, however, to ensure their health and wellbeing, even when you’re not nearby, and to take full advantage of your in-person visits.
Communication Is Crucial
A genuine, open talk with your parents concerning their goals, wishes, and expectations is crucial to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Begin by asking these types of questions:
- What forms of assistance might be worthwhile today? For instance, would your senior loved ones enjoy having assistance with housework, meals, and running errands? Could they use help with transportation to outings or medical appointments?
- What about your envisioned future needs? If a long-term illness or even the effects of growing older make it hard to continue living alone in the home, do you envision relocating to assisted living? Moving in with a family member or friend? Residing at home with in-home care support?
- Are there any adjustments to your home you’d like to have made, which will make life easier and safer now and, in the years to come? For example, would it be helpful to switch from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs one? Install a ramp leading up to the front porch? Reorganize regularly-used items to more easily-accessible locations?
- Have you looked at any local resources that could be helpful, like a community senior center for socializing, exercise classes, fun outings, etc.? A local support group for a specific health condition, such as Parkinson’s or dementia?
Tips on How to Assist from a Distance
With answers to these and any other questions in hand, you can then assist in a variety of ways, even from afar, such as by:
- Researching resources
- Setting up a meeting with siblings and any other family/friends who can help
- Building a list of physicians, medications, and other important health information
- Ensuring that all legal paperwork, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Remaining in touch often by phone, and visiting in person whenever you can
Making the Most of Visits
When you are able to visit in person, you will, of course, want to concentrate on quality time with your parents. It’s also important, however, to assess how your senior loved ones are doing, the condition of the home, and any other clues which could reveal a care need that has gone unnoticed. Signs to watch out for include:
- A disheveled, untidy appearance in either or both of your parents
- Stacks of unopened mail, clutter, dirty dishes stacked in the sink, piles of clothing, and any other clues that housekeeping tasks are not being tended to as they should
- Scorch marks on the countertop or bottoms of pots and pans that may indicate inattention to cooking tasks
- Bruises or any other indications of physical trauma which could have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- A lack of fresh foods in the home, or expired/spoiled foods
How Home Care Can Help
At Absolute Companion Care, a respected local provider of home and memory care in Towson, MD and nearby areas, we are always here to deliver as much or as little assistance as required to supplement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We can assist with running errands, planning and preparing healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, and much more. We also serve as a friendly companion to alleviate isolation and boredom, and to make sure that the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported immediately.
Reach out to us at 410-357-9640 for more information on how we can offer families living far from senior parents the peace of mind they need with our reliable, award-winning in-home care services. For a full list of the communities we serve, visit our Service Area page.