How can you ensure your elderly parent is well-taken care of while you’re hundreds of miles away? That’s a question many families face.
The health and well-being of parents and grandparents with physical disabilities is a worry for many trying to look after mobility-restricted loved ones while raising their children and working several states away.
Consulting a senior home care agency might be the help they need in making sure their parents are safe and sound. Otherwise, loved ones risk dropping the ball while juggling caregiving, professional responsibilities, and active personal lives.
The Pew Research Center says this sandwich generation, those “sandwiched” between caring for their aging parents and their children, is stressed emotionally and financially.
Rest assured, help is available.
Here are seven tips for those long-distance caregivers stretched thin.
Hire an in-home caregiver
More than 34.2 million family caregivers require professional intervention when caring for aging parents or grandparents.
A substantial portion of these family caregivers lives hundreds of miles away from their ailing loved ones, rendering daily hands-on care an unattainable luxury.
Hiring an in-home caregiver or senior home care agency can be the missing ingredient in this recipe for disaster. These professionals will not only assume responsibility for necessary background screenings, but their resumes packed with years of experience will make this transition more digestible.
Include siblings in care decisions and responsibilities
If you have brothers and sisters, talk with them about your parents’ needs and conditions. In your conversations, try to reach an agreement on what steps to take next.
You may decide that, based on skills or location, one sibling might handle medical paperwork, and another might provide transportation to doctors’ appointments.
Seek help from parents, friends, and neighbors: don’t go it alone
If you’re hours away from your father, you might not be as aware of any physical or cognitive impairment as those who see him more often. Reach out to his friends and neighbors to help you keep an eye on his condition and needs.
A senior home care agency can also be an essential partner as you care for your parents or grandparents. These caregiving agencies can help connect your mobility-restricted loved one with caregivers who can provide around-the-clock care when you’re tied up with other obligations.
If you’re concerned about the condition of your parents, visit them at least once every four to six weeks. During these routine visits, spend one-on-one quality time with them and check off to-dos that have remained incomplete due to their physical disabilities.
For example, attend to home repairs, fill prescriptions, and ensure they have ready-to-eat, low-maintenance meal options in their kitchen and pantry.
Check on your parents’ needs daily or every few days by calling them or by video calling through apps such as Zoom and Facetime. These virtual get-togethers will give you insight into your loved one’s condition and will nurture unbreakable bonds.
Strengthen bonds with your spouse and children
When caring for your parents, you might not be spending as much time with your spouse and children. Make sure you make time for a date night with your partner or a trip for ice cream with your children.
Making this small gesture will ensure your caregiving responsibilities don’t leave your personal relationships in shreds.
Include your employer
In most workplaces, FMLA leave can give you the time you need to care for your parents without putting your job in jeopardy. Your company’s human resources department should be able to advise you on leave options.
While you may be hours away from your loved ones, your love and concern for their welfare will reach across the distance currently separating you.
While you may not be able to provide care personally, you can be an active part of your aging loved one’s care team by following these tips.
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