How to Care for Aging Parents When You Can’t Be There
Our parents mean the world to us and we want to do right by them. As they advance in age, you want to do everything you can to ensure that they remain healthy and safe at all times. This could mean something as simple as helping them with easy senior exercises.
At the same time, feelings of loneliness, boredom, and isolation are common among aging people. Combined with mobility issues and seeing their friends pass on now and then is one of the reasons why your parents may need you more now that they are aging.
However, in as much as you want to be with them all your life, you just can’t. So, how do you ensure that your aging parents are taken care of even when you can’t be there physically?
Research their care options beforehand
Remote caring for your parents could mean that they have no control over what type of care they are accorded.
If you don’t want that to be the case, you are better off exploring their care options before they need them.
This is the point where you discuss with them their wishes should they need care.
Do they want to remain at home where a caregiver can take over the care or are they comfortable moving to an assisted living facility?
This is not an easy conversation to have with your parents but it’s necessary. It allows them to decide on what is best for them when that time comes.
Consider consulting with a geriatric care manager
A geriatric care manager is very vital when you don’t live close to your aging parents. They can help you to not only find but manage their care.
Most of these individuals have a background in social work, nursing, or physical and occupational therapy.
They are therefore your best option to create a plan for your parents, choosing the care option, and even stepping up to monitor their care.
Accept that you can’t do everything
You may want to do everything you can for your parents especially if they’ve sacrificed everything to raise you.
But it’s okay to accept that you can’t handle everything they may need as they advance in age.
Instead, explore what is in your power regarding their care. If your strength lies in financial management, you can help them financially by managing their finances and paying their bills.
Consider different living arrangements
Sometimes what is best for your parent’s safety and health isn’t at home and you need to embrace that.
If you can move closer to take care of them, well and good. If not, you need to start exploring different living arrangements for them.
That could mean moving them closer to your home, hiring a home care manager, or having them move to a senior living facility.
Plan frequent visits
Feelings of isolation are common in elderly people and they could lead to stress or even depression in the end.
If you can’t take care of your aging parents for one reason or another, the worst thing you can do is abandon them altogether.
Plan to visit them regularly and ensure that you spend as much quality time with them as possible.
Keep in touch
Sometimes, you can’t manage to visit your aging parents all the time. If that is the case, don’t hold back on reaching out to them regularly.
Technology has changed things and today, it’s very possible to see them even when you can’t be there physically.
You might want to make plans to call them at least once a week or a few times a month. Just ensure that regardless of how busy your schedule is, you create time for them.
Always have an emergency plan
Sometimes things are bound to happen that are out of your control. Your parents may get into an accident or have another form of emergency.
What do you do then? You need to have an emergency plan in place that you can execute on short notice.
Have a support system set in place where someone can step in and take care of your kids or job in case of such emergencies.
We live in a busy world where work and family engagements take priority. As your parents advance in age, they may not be able to do everything for themselves. When that happens, they need to be taken care of. And while you may want to be there with them every step of the way, sometimes you just can’t. Stopping to evaluate the best way to take care of them when you are away will ensure that they are not only healthy but safe.