How To Help Your Elderly Parents When You Live Far Away?

Are you one of the many people who have elderly parents living far away? That’s not surprising because as the world becomes more of a global village, people are increasingly living in different parts of the world away from their families.

However, living far away from your elderly parents doesn’t mean you can’t help them. Here are some tips from on how to help your elderly parents even if you’re not physically present. 

It’s important to note that you are not alone in this journey. About 15% of Americans care for an elderly loved one from a distance. And most of these caregivers are about 450 miles away.

So, let’s look at ways to help your elderly parents while living far away.

Have a Family Meeting To determine the scope of Care

To effectively help your elderly parents, you’ll need to have a family meeting with all family members involved in the well-being and care of your parents. This will help you determine the level of care and assistance they need and set up a system where everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

You’ll also need to get your parent’s input on what kind of care they want and how much help they’re willing to accept from you and other family members. They may not want to burden you with their care, but knowing their wishes is crucial.

Keep The Communication Lines Open

Thanks to modern technology, keeping in touch with loved ones who live far away is now more manageable. You can start by purchasing a smartphone or tablet for your parents and teaching them how to use video call applications such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.

Identify A Primary Caregiver

Depending on the health status of your parents, you may need to identify a primary caregiver who will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your parents. This person should live close to your parents so they can provide the necessary care and assistance.

If you have siblings who live near your parents, they can be your first choice. Otherwise, you can hire a professional caregiver to help out.

Organize Your Care In A Notebook

Create a repository of all the information your parents need in an emergency. This notebook should include their medical information, contact details of their doctor, a list of medications, and other relevant information.

Depending on your convenience, this repository can be cloud-based or a physical notebook. The important thing is that all family members involved in your parents’ care have access to this information.

It’s important to note that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations require that you have your parent’s written consent before sharing their medical information.

Gather Information About Their Financial Status And Insurance Coverage

Having your parents’ financial and insurance information at hand will help you make informed decisions about your parent’s care. This information will also be helpful in the event of an emergency.

Some of the things you’ll need to know include their bank account details, investments, retirement plans, and insurance policies. So, in case they are incapacitated, you’ll be able to handle their finances and make sure their bills are paid on time.

Organize Local Assistance

As mentioned earlier, the level of assistance your elderly parents need will depend on their health condition. If they’re still relatively healthy, they may only need help with groceries or transportation once in a while. So your responsibility will be to designate someone who can help when needed. In addition, you can create a plan for when and how often your parents will require this assistance.

However, if your parent needs more specialized attention, like senior care, you’ll need to research, interview, and hire a suitable professional for the task. For instance, you can consider a licensed nurse or a home health aide.

Calls And Visits: Making The Most Of Them

Try to maximize your opportunity to talk to or visit your elderly parents. For example, during a call, instead of asking, “have you been feeding well?” you can ask, “What did you have for breakfast?” This will give you a better idea of their daily routine and eating habits. The key is asking leading questions and encouraging them to open up about their daily lives.

Caring for elderly parents from a distance can be a daunting task. However, it is manageable if you’re well-organized and have a support system in place. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your parents and other family members involved in their care. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to be done.

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