Living far away from elderly parents can make the need for help at home easier to overlook. The fact is, many adult children of aging parents never even realize that Mom and Dad need assistance until they come home to visit or spend a longer period of time together over the holiday season. If you are a family caregiver who lives far apart from your older parents, it’s essential to have a plan in place for crisis situations and care.
The Palo Alto home care specialists at Live Well at Home have developed these helpful tips to assist in taking care of parents from a distance.
Plan in Advance
When you are not able to just drive across town to help out, it’s vital to have family dialogues about the “what ifs” that may develop with your loved ones, like:
- Living situation choices according to severity and who is involved – play out some situations for debate; for example, a broken hip necessitating a rehab stay.
- How will you determine when “it’s time” to implement a change? What would this look like?
- Financial considerations in caregiving, including how much work can family members afford to miss? What third party financial assistance may be obtainable?
- Advance directives for decision-making: verify all is in order and keep a copy for yourself.
Re-evaluate Along the Way
When you aren’t able to see your senior parents each day, it can be tempting to want to neglect the often uncomfortable business of appraising health and wellbeing in favor of enjoying each other’s company, but it’s essential to regularly give thought to and evaluate how your older parents are really doing.
- Identify the RN who is working with your loved ones’ physician and stay in communication with that person.
- Make sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of your parents’ doctors’ offices so you can talk openly with the medical professionals, and retain one for yourself.
- Have frequent telephone contact with your parents to check in and help them problem-solve.
- Make a list of any informal local resources: neighbors, church friends, other family members who can be part of your older parents’ network of support. Keep in contact with that network and ensure they know how to contact you and that you welcome their calls.
Identify When to Travel and When to Stay Home
Situations are certain to arise, at times at a moment’s notice. You simply can’t travel for each issue, so determine beforehand when you will travel and when you will need to utilize other resources to assist.
- Ask your parents if this is a genuine medical or care emergency. As a part (not all) of your decision-making, ask the medical professional, social worker, or nurse for more details and his/her advice on whether you should travel in.
- Can another person locally manage the issue at hand or eyeball the situation for you?
- It’s perfectly fine to go there just to put your mind at ease as well. If remaining home and worrying is going to be less productive for you, then maybe you should go.
Consider Partnering with Live Well at Home
In-home senior care can not only provide exceptional care for older individuals, it can also give long-distance family members a heightened sense of peace and connection. At Live Well at Home, providers of the highest quality home care in Palo Alto and the surrounding area, our professional care staff have specialized training and can:
- Assess the circumstances
- Identify problems, gaps, strengths and resources
- Keep track of health, activity, nutrition, etc.
- Screen and arrange for other services and assistance
- Work with financial, legal and medical providers
- Communicate regularly with family members
- And much more
If your aging parents are in need of home care, contact the care professionals at Live Well at Home. We treat your family like our own.