It’s not easy to care for aging parents who live far away. When getting help, the options can be limited in rural areas and difficult to find in cities. But if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices, you can ensure that your parent is getting the best of assisted living and memory care possible—even if they’re hundreds of miles away. Here are some tips for how to care for aging parents from a distance:
Learn About Your Parents’ Health And Finances.
One of the most important things you can do while your parent is still alive is to learn about their health, finances, and legal documents.
This means understanding their assets and liabilities. It also means knowing what kind of medical care they want or need. You should know where all the legal documents are so that if something happens to one of them, there won’t be any confusion about what should happen next with things like power-of-attorney or estate planning documents.
Understand What Family Caregivers Need
Family caregivers are often the least prepared for their role, and can be caught off-guard by how much time, energy, and focus it takes to care for an aging parent. They may not have clear expectations about what they’re supposed to do or how long they will be required to take the role. Family caregivers must understand their responsibilities to make informed decisions about whether or not they should continue with the caregiving process.
Define Familial Roles
The next step is to define the roles of each family member. You may be the only one who lives close and can help with things like paying bills or making sure your parents are taking their medicine. Or maybe you live far away, but you are responsible for organizing all of your family members’ visits together. Understanding your role within the larger family system is important, so everyone feels supported and connected.
Create A Network Of Caregiving Helpers
You cannot do this alone by creating a network of caregiving helpers. You will have people to lean on when you need them and can share the load with others.
Your family members should be understanding and supportive, but that is not always the case, especially if they are not living nearby or have health issues. The best way around this is to find local caregivers who can help you with everything from housework to shopping or driving your parents around town (if they’re able).
Even though you’re far away, staying in touch with your parents is important. Visits don’t have to be long—even a few hours will do. But they can be a great way for you and your family members to see how your parent is doing and how their caretakers are handling the situation. If you live far away from home, it’s also useful during visits to check in on their finances and discuss any changes they might need to make in their estate plan or other legal documents (such as powers of attorney).
Be Sure To Take Care Of Yourself Too
You’re not a robot as much as you want to be there for your parents and ensure they are comfortable and happy. You need to take care of yourself too! You must understand that when it comes to caring for aging parents from a distance, the more rested, healthy, and organized you are – the better off everyone will be.
We hope these tips have been helpful, and we wish you the best of luck with your situation!
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.