Caring for elderly family from far away


Caring for your parents or grandparents from afar is not easy. You may not do all the physical work, but their day to day responsibilities and duties fall on you. Many people think it is best to send their old parents to live in a nursing home and some feel that it is best to hire help for them in their own homes, but let me assure you that this will not lessen your responsibility in any way. Caring for your old family from another city, or even another state is a full-time job.

As your elderly parents' age, sadly some of them get diseases like Alzheimer’s, arthritis, glaucoma, heart problems and many more. The more severe the disease, the more difficult it is to care for your elderly loved ones from afar. It is like a long-distance relationship, bittersweet in nature because no matter how much you worry, the look on their face when you go visit them is extremely worth all the pressure. There are ways to make this long-distance caring a little easy so that you can play a more active part in your older parent’s lives from a distance.

Keep Emergency Local Contacts

When you are living in another state or city, far away from your parents, you need to keep a list of local contacts. An emergency can occur at any time, so it is safe to stay in touch with people who live near to your parents. They can be anyone, your local caretakers, trusted neighbors, and extended family or family friends. Someone who you can trust to take care of your parents in case of emergencies until you arrive.

Help Them in Their Daily Tasks

Living far away from your parents can make them feel your absence very strongly. You cannot help them in their day to day tasks such as getting them groceries, feeding the pet, and cleaning up the house a little. However, you can help them in daily tasks assisted by the internet. You can pay their bills online; you can keep track of their investments, and stay updated on their healthcare issues. You can also register yourself as your parent’s healthcare proxy so that whenever there is a health-related problem, you are the first one to know and can discuss different options with their doctors. These acts will make them feel like you still very much play an active part in their lives.

Hire Them Local Assistance

Even if you cannot care for your old parents in person, you can hire highly qualified caretakers for them. Hired help can check in on them every day and keep you updated with their health status. The caretaker can also give them their medicines on time and help them around the house. If your parents are really old and cannot even cook or clean, you can hire them a maid who will look after their kitchen and tidy up the house. You can also hire a meal service, which will deliver home-cooked meals at their home every day.

Asses The Living Conditions of Your Parents

Even though your parents live alone, they can still face several problems in their lives. When you visit, they can become happy and try not to burden you with their problems at all. So make sure whenever you visit, you ask them about house maintenance, any medication issue, any emotional issue, and unpaid bills. They are likely to discuss their problems with you in person, rather than on a call or e-mail.

Choose an Appropriate Care-taking Service

If you see that you cannot provide proper home care for your parents from afar, then you should think about putting them in a good nursing home. Take a tour of the nursing facility yourself and check out the living conditions there. If you have siblings then discuss their living situation with them and ask for their opinions as well. After reviewing your parent's financial status and calculating how much you can contribute, you can put them in an assisted-living facility which will take good care of them.

Go Out with Your Parents

Whenever you’re visiting your parents, make sure you do activities to bond with them so that they know you still love them the same. Go to different appointments with them whether it’s to the doctors, legal advisor or a financial adviser. Go shopping, watch a movie with them, and tell them about your life and job. They will love and appreciate this bonding time.

Our parents raised us and took care of us all our lives, so it is obligatory for us to do the same in their old age.  Even if you’re living far away, make sure you incorporate frequent visits in your busy schedule. Divide the load among your siblings; if one runs errands for them on a daily basis, then the other one should handle the paperwork and the bills. Try keeping in touch with your parents a bit more.

Make sure they have access to a good Wi-Fi connection so that you can video call them regularly. Help your parents in managing their financial matters but don’t take over their matters completely, consult them and ask for their opinions before making a decision for them: it is crucial that they feel like that they are not entirely dependent on you even for the smallest things.

You can also consider moving them closer to you, but often older people want to stay near their old community where they know everyone and feel comfortable. If you are to manage this long-distance care-taking effectively, then make sure you are organized and devoted.

Elderly parents tend to get diseases often, and if they have dementia their mental health can decline severely. It is your responsibility to put up with that by providing them with good caretakers and help who will keep you updated on their health, and it is also important to increase your visits as you never know how much time you have left with them.