Taking care of your elderly parent can be difficult, even if you live right down the road. Caring for an elderly parent when you live out of state can make those difficulties grow exponentially. So for someone like you who simply cannot move closer to their aging parent, how can you make sure their needs are met? The answer lies in one word: preparation.
Visit with a Purpose
The first thing you need to do is go see your mom or dad. If you can, take an extended trip so you have ample time to assess how they are getting along. A few things in particular to take notice of are:
- Eating habit
- How they’re getting around
- Their social interaction
- Are they taking care of their business (bills, medications, etc.)?
Should you notice your parent having difficulty with any of the above categories, you might consider getting them a home health aide to fill in the gaps while you are gone. They can help with all the activities of daily living as well as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and much more. Find a home health provider that:
- Gives a free initial assessment.
- Only employs experienced, certified nursing assistants.
- Works with your insurance provider to handle the paperwork
- Licensed, bonded, and insured.
In more extreme cases, you may want to speak to someone about the possibility of moving your parent to an assisted living facility. Of course, broaching the subject with your parent may prove difficult. That’s why it’s always better to start this conversation sooner rather than later.
Speak to Those Close to Your Parents
It’s a good idea to communicate with those close to your parent on a regular basis. For example, if your dad meets his buddies at the donut shop once a week, you might go along with him during your visit and exchange numbers with one of them so they can alert you if he is having any difficulties. You should also speak to his doctor to get an update on his physical condition. Of course, you’ll need your dad to sign a consent form to make this possible, so make sure you get that done on your next visit as well.
Stay in Touch
Living far away from your elderly parent can be emotionally draining. But with key preparation you can help the situation go a bit more smoothly. Once you make your visit, continue to stay in touch with your parent by phone. You might even get your parent set up with Skype or a similar program so you can speak face to face via the web. That way you may get a better idea how they look and you can also see the room behind them and take note of its condition.
Do what you can and take a deep breath. You’re taking necessary steps to make sure they are getting the best care possible.