They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but caregiving for senior parents from afar can cause additional feelings: helplessness, worry, and concern, to name a few. It’s hard to know just how your senior loved ones are doing through phone calls, letters, emails, and video chats. There are 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 talk with your parents regarding their expectations, wishes, and goals is vital to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Begin by asking the following types of questions:
- What kids of assistance might be beneficial today? As an example, would your senior loved ones enjoy having help with housework, meals, and running errands? Could they use assistance with transportation to outings or medical appointments?
- How about anticipated future needs? If a long-term illness or perhaps the results of growing older make it difficult to keep living alone in the home, can they envision relocating to assisted living? Moving in with a member of family or friend? Staying at home with in-home care services?
- Are there any modifications to the home your aging loved ones would like to have made to make life safer and easier 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 locations?
- Have you looked into any nearby resources that could be helpful, such as a community senior center for socialization, exercise classes, fun outings, etc.? An area support group for a specific health issue, such as 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 aid in a number of ways, even from afar, such as:
- Researching resources
- Developing a plan with siblings and any other family/friends who can help
- Building a list of doctors, medications, and other important health information
- Ensuring all legal papers, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Staying in touch through frequent phone calls, and visiting in person anytime you can
Making the Most of Visits
When you are able to visit in person, you will, of course, want to concentrate on quality time with your parents. It is also essential, however, to evaluate how your senior loved ones are doing, the condition of the house, and any other hints that could suggest a care need that has gone undetected. Signs to watch out for include:
- A disheveled, unkempt appearance in either or both of your parents
- Stacks of unopened mail, clutter, dirty dishes stacked in the sink, piles of clothing, and any other warning signs that housekeeping tasks are not being tended to the way they should
- Burn marks on the countertop or bottoms of pots and pans that could indicate inattention to food preparation tasks
- Bruises or other indications of physical trauma which could have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- A lack of fresh foods in the house, or expired/spoiled foods
How Home Care Can Help
At Morning Glory Home Care, a trusted local provider of home care in Edwardsville, IL and surrounding areas, we’re always here to deliver as much or as little assistance as needed to supplement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We can help with grocery shopping, preparing healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, plus much more. We also act as a friendly companion to alleviate loneliness and boredom, and to ensure that the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported immediately.
Call us at 618-667-8400 to learn more about how we can provide families living at a distance from senior parents the peace of mind they need with our reliable, award-winning in-home care services. For a full list of the communities we serve, visit our Service Area page.