They claim distance makes the heart grow fonder, but residing far from elderly parents often causes additional feelings: helplessness, worry, and concern, to name a few. It is hard to understand precisely how your senior loved ones are doing through phone calls, video chats, emails, and letters. There are many things you can do, however, to ensure their health and wellbeing, even when you’re not nearby, and to take full advantage of your in-person visits.
Communication Is Crucial
A sincere, open conversation with your parents about their wishes, goals, and expectations is essential to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Begin by asking the following kinds of questions:
- What kinds of support might be beneficial today? As an example, would your senior loved ones enjoy having help with housekeeping, errands, meal preparation? Could they use help with transportation to outings or medical visits?
- What about your anticipated future needs? If a long-term illness or the effects of aging make it challenging to continue living alone in the home, can they envision moving to assisted living? Moving in with a member of family or friend? Residing at home with in-home care support?
- Are there any alterations to the home they would like to have made, to make life easier and safer now and in the future? For instance, would it be beneficial to switch from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs one? Install a ramp leading up to the front porch? Reorganize regularly-used items to more easily-accessible spots?
- Have you looked at any local resources that could be helpful, such as a community senior center for socialization, fitness classes, fun outings, etc.? An area support group for a particular health issue, like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease?
Tips on How to Help from a Distance
With answers to these and any other questions in hand, you can then help in a variety of ways, even from afar, such as:
- Looking into resources
- Developing a strategy with siblings and any other family/friends who can help
- Compiling a list of medical professionals, medications, and other important health information
- Making sure all legal papers, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Remaining in contact via telephone, and visiting in person as much as possible
Making the Most of Visits
Whenever you are able to visit in person, you will, of course, want to focus on quality time with your parents. It’s also important, however, to evaluate how your senior loved ones are doing, the condition of the house, and any other signs that could indicate a care need that has gone unnoticed. Signs to watch out for include:
- A messy, unkempt appearance in either or both of your parents
- Stacks of unopened mail, clutter, dirty dishes stacked in the sink, piles of laundry, and any other signs that homemaking tasks are not being tended to the way they should
- Scorch marks on the countertop or underside of pots and pans which could indicate inattention to cooking tasks
- Bruises or any other indications of physical injury that may have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- Not enough fresh foods in the home, or expired/spoiled foods
How Home Care Can Help When Caring From a Distance
At Grace Home Care, the experts in at-home care in Topeka and nearby areas, we’re always here to deliver as much or as little assistance as needed to complement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We are able to assist with errands, preparing healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, and much more. We also serve as a friendly companion to ease loneliness and boredom, and to ensure that the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported immediately.
Reach out to us at 785-286-2273 for more information on how we provide families living far from senior loved ones the peace of mind they need with our dependable, award-winning in-home care solutions. To view a full list of the communities we serve, visit our Service Area page.