Living in the same city as your family can be a huge advantage in providing care and support, especially as the living arrangements of people as they age are likely to change.
But many families live far away, so alternative approaches to helping out are needed when your elderly parents live far away. Indeed, as more elderly people live on their own, challenges can multiply.
Careseekers recommends the following tips to help when your elderly parents live far away to ensure that long-distance caregiving can be as effective as possible.
1. Collect, store and share information
Spending time apart means having a solid information-sharing process between family members so that declining health problems are not overlooked. Ensure all medical information is recorded; all advance directives and documents regarding treatments are made available; and, make regular updates, as situations change.
2. Use technology
Technology is critical to overcoming challenges in managing far away care. Use messaging apps, webinars, conference calls, and Facebook pages to maintain communication. You can also go one step further and use technology to find care workers to provide support on the ground.
3. Explore professional services
Speak to social workers, and other community organisations in the local area to find out what support services might be available (for example meals on wheels, home library services). Consider organising home services for shopping, home maintenance, cooking, cleaning, and other household chores.
4. Prepare for unplanned travel
Allow for the fact that your parents may still be mobile and like to get out and about. Ensure that there is a process in place for notifying family members when your parents go away – ensure at the minimum you capture an address and phone number of where they are going. The same would apply in the event they may go to the hospital for a brief stay.
5. Organise volunteers
Talk to friends and people who your parents may know and trust who live nearby to support with the above, and any emotional support when you can’t physically be there.
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