I am the primary caregiver for my 70-year-old mother. She is reasonably healthy, but she has some trouble with mobility. I don’t think she needs around-the-clock assistance, but I worry about her being alone. Unfortunately, I live 60 miles away, so I can’t check on her as often as I would like.
Do you have any caregiving tips for faraway adult children?
Miranda from Grand Haven, MI
Caring for an Aging Parent Who Lives Far Away
Caring for an aging parent can be difficult for anyone, but distance creates unique challenges. By not being present physically, many caregivers struggle to understand and meet their loved ones’ needs. Some caregivers also feel guilty they can’t be with their loved ones more often.
Fortunately, there are many tools and resources available to caregivers who provide care remotely. By knowing some options, caregivers who live far away can better care for their loved ones. Here are a few virtual caregiving tips for faraway adult children.
3 Virtual Caregiving Tips
- Take advantage of technology.
Advances in technology have made it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family members around the world. Many of these tools can help caregivers stay updated on how their senior loved ones are doing. Video chat, for example, allows you to have a face-to-face conversation.
In addition to fostering a deeper connection, video calls also give you a chance to look for signs that your loved one might need some assistance. For example, you can take note if they’ve lost or gained weight. This can mean they are struggling to eat healthy.
You might also catch a glimpse of their living environment. If your loved one’s space looks messy, it might indicate they are having trouble maintaining the home. By seeing these signs early, you can take preventative measures to keep them safe. Echo Show and GrandPad are two senior-friendly video calling devices.
- Have an emergency plan.
Regardless of how cautious you are, accidents happen. It’s important to have a plan in case an emergency occurs and you can’t get to your loved one quickly. One key component is your support system. Keep a list of people who can help your loved one. This might include local family members or friendly neighbors.
You might also want to consult with nearby assisted living communities or home care companies. You can arrange for them to care for your loved one if needed.
- Consult with a senior care manager.
Senior care managers are trained specialists who help families through the process of caring for aging loved ones. They can be called a variety of names, including “geriatric care manager” or “elder care manager.” Regardless of what you call them, their purpose is to decrease family members’ stress and increase the senior’s quality of life.
Senior care managers can help with anything from supporting family caregivers with legal and financial matters to evaluating seniors’ safety. They can also help manage doctors’ appointments.
These care professionals can be particularly helpful to long-distance caregivers because they act as an unbiased and professional set of eyes. Caregivers can take comfort in knowing specialists have their loved one’s best interests at heart.
Caring for a Senior Loved One Isn’t Always Easy
Caring for an aging parent is rarely easy, and the job can become more challenging as distance increases. With proper planning, you can find a way to ensure your senior loved one gets the care they deserve.
I hope these tips make it easier for you to care for your aging parent from far away.
Senior Living at Heritage Senior Communities
If you are struggling to care for your loved one at a distance, you may want to explore local senior living options. Heritage Senior Communities offers a variety of living options for seniors, including Specialized Dementia, Assisted Living, and Independent Senior Living. Contact us today to schedule a private tour.