They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but long-distance caregiving for senior parents can cause additional feelings: worry, concern, and helplessness, to name a few. It is hard to know precisely how your parents are doing through phone calls, letters, emails, and video chats. There are a few 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 Important
A sincere, open conversation with your parents concerning their expectations, wishes, and goals is vital to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Start with asking the following kinds of questions:
- What types of assistance might be needed today? For example, would your parents enjoy having help with housework, meals, and running errands? Could they use assistance with transportation to outings or medical appointments?
- What about your anticipated future needs? If a prolonged illness or perhaps the effects of getting older make it difficult to continue living alone at home, can you envision moving to assisted living? Moving in with a relative or friend? Residing at home with in-home care help?
- Are there any modifications to your home you would like to have made, to help make life safer and easier now and in the future? As an example, would it be beneficial to switch from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs one? Install a ramp leading up to the front porch? Reorganize commonly-used items to more easily-accessible places?
- Have you looked into any nearby resources that may be helpful, like a community senior center for socialization, exercise classes, fun outings, etc.? An area support group for a particular health issue, like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease?
How to Provide Assistance from a Distance
With answers to these and any other questions at hand, you can then aid in a wide range of ways, even from afar, such as:
- Looking for resources
- Setting up a meeting with siblings and any other family/friends who can help
- Compiling a list of doctors, medications, and other important health information
- Making sure all legal papers, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Staying in touch often by phone, and visiting in person whenever possible
Making the Most of Visits
Whenever you are able to visit in person, you will, of course, want to focus on quality time with your parents. It is also important, however, to evaluate how your parents are doing, the condition of the house, and any other hints that could reveal a care need that has gone undetected. Signs to watch out for include:
- A messy, unkempt 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 homemaking tasks aren’t being tended to as they should
- Scorch marks on the counter or bottoms of pans that could indicate inattention to cooking tasks
- Bruises or any other indications of physical trauma that could have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- Too little fresh food in the house, or expired/spoiled foods
How Home Care Can Help
At Abby Senior Care, offering compassionate home caregivers in Denver and the surrounding areas, we’re always here to offer as much or as little support as needed to supplement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We can help with grocery shopping, preparing healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, plus much more. We also act as a friendly companion to ease loneliness and boredom, and to make certain that the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported immediately.
Reach out to us at 303-699-8840 for more information on how we can provide families living at a distance from senior parents the peace of mind they need with our trustworthy, award-winning in-home care services. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities in which we provide care.