Tips for Long Distance Care: What You Should Do for Your Aging Parents
Caring for aging or elderly parents is not an easy task for anyone in this world. It becomes even more difficult when you are trying to look after them from 100 miles away. A lot of people give up hope and begin to think that there is not much that they can do to improve the lives of their loved ones. There is no denying the fact that long distance care involves extremely complicated challenges that may leave you confused and frustrated. However, you can always make a positive contribution to your parents’ lives. Your goal should be to simplify long distance care and get your act organized. This requires genuine effort and detailed planning. The following are five simple steps that you can take to provide better long distance care for your aging parents.
1) Hire a Caregiver
A caregiver or a geriatric care provider is a professional that you can appoint to take care of your aging parents in your absence. On the surface, it may seem as though you are paying someone to fulfill your obligations on your behalf, but there’s a lot more to it than what meets the eye. As a working adult, it is impossible for you to devote all of your time to your aging loved ones and look after their every single need.
There comes a time when your parents require and deserve fulltime care. If you are incapable of providing that care, then your best option is to hire a caregiver. The duty of a caregiver is to provide emotional and physical support for your parents so that they no longer feel helpless.
Appointing a professional, experienced, and expert caregiver should not be seen as a way of distancing yourself from your parents. Instead, it should be considered a smart way of helping your parents cope with the challenges of aging while you are away from them.
2) Gather Financial, Medical, and Legal Information
When you are away from your parents, you need to be prepared to act quickly in case of an emergency. In order to do this, it is imperative for you to gather all financial, medical, and legal information about your parents. This may be a very hectic chore, but it is one that needs to be done as early as you possibly can.
You have to maintain up-to-date information about your parents’ medical care, finances, home ownership, health, and legal issues so that you know exactly what is going on with their lives. It will also enable you to respond swiftly in the event of a crisis. You should be very meticulous about compiling a list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Make sure that you work with the professional caregiver to get the doses and the schedules listed down. This information will be vital during a medical emergency.
3) Be Sure to Plan Ahead
Care plans should always be made in advance. Delaying them can lead to confusion and conflict, especially between family members who disagree over care or treatment methods. When making the care plans, you should take the health care preferences of your aging parents into account. The health care providers and caregivers will then be obliged to respect the wishes of your loved ones. The primary caregiver should have a copy of all the care plans that have been made. A copy of the medical record should also be handed to the doctor.
4) Make Friends in the Neighborhood
Expecting the caregiver to completely fulfill your parents’ social needs is asking too much. Your parents need to interact with others as well in order to maintain a healthy social life. You can help them build relationships by befriending neighbors. These neighbors can then be your eyes and ears. They can engage in conversation with your parents from time to time and develop a sense of trust with them. Their occasional companionship can prove to be invaluable in keeping your parents’ social life active.
5) Don’t Forget the Phone Call
Everything that has been mentioned in this list so far is very important in providing long distance care. However, there is one thing missing: the phone call. You probably have a very busy life. Perhaps you do not even find the time for leisure or personal entertainment. But this should not be used an excuse to ignore your parents. Regardless of what you have done to ensure that they are in safe hands, you cannot afford to forget calling them. Make sure that you give them a phone call whenever you have some free time on your hands. The sound of your voice will be immensely helpful in keeping them happy and healthy.