Caregiving From a Distance

Posted by on Sep 15, 2008 in Caregiving | 0 comments

 

Living at a distance from aging parents presents several challenges. Visiting your parents for short periods – probably at special occasions – you may not be aware of how they are managing their day-to-day lives.

Can they still do the everyday household chores? What about seasonal demands of yard work, snow removal and regular upkeep? With increasing age and frailty, are they living safely, particularly if still in their home?

And when the crisis occurs, how can you manage the demands of your own work and family life and still travel to help your parents?

Here are a few suggestions to consider while your parents are still managing well:

  • Set up easy lines of communication such as email, video callint or regular telephone visits. Offer to pay for these communication vehicles (e.g., phone cards) as special occasion gifts. 
  • During a visit, get to know your parents’ community – from their perspective. Who are their neighbors? Will they respond in time of need and will they give you their contact information? Will they take your phone number and call you if they have concerns?
  • Find out about local services, e.g., gardening, home maintenance, housekeeping and transportation. A good place to start looking is with the local seniors’ clubs. The Chamber of Commerce or City information can also point you in the right direction.
  • Find a hard-copy or online source for the local seniors’ service directory – it might be useful if you need to find support services.
  • Set aside some time during a visit to make a list of important documents and their location (wills, advanced directives, personal health care numbers, name and contact information for the family doctor)
  • Discuss the use of emergency response systems.

 © 2009 ElderWise

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