They claim distance makes the heart grow fonder, but living far from aging parents can cause additional feelings: helplessness, worry, and concern, for example. It’s hard to understand just how your senior loved ones are doing through phone calls, video chats, emails, and letters. There are steps you can take, 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 Important
An honest, open conversation with your parents regarding their expectations, wishes, and goals is crucial to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Start by asking these types of questions:
- What kinds of help might be beneficial today? As an example, would your senior loved ones enjoy having help with housework, meals, and running errands? Could they use help with transportation to outings or medical appointments?
- How about your envisioned future needs? If a long-term illness or perhaps the results of growing older make it hard to keep living alone at home, can you envision moving to assisted living? Moving in with a family member or friend? Residing at home with in-home care support?
- Are there any modifications to your home you would like to have made, in order to make life safer and easier now and in the years to come? For example, would it be beneficial to switch from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs one? Install a ramp leading up to the front porch? Reorganize frequently-used items to more easily-accessible spots?
- 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 particular health condition, such as Parkinson’s or dementia?
How to Provide Assistance from a Distance
With answers to these and any other questions in hand, you can then help in a number of ways, even from afar, such as by:
- Looking into resources
- Setting up a plan with siblings and any other family/friends who can help
- Creating a list of physicians, medications, and other important health information
- Ensuring all legal documentation, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Remaining in touch by telephone, and visiting in person whenever possible
Making the Most of Visits
When you do have the opportunity to visit in person, you will, of course, want to focus on quality time with your parents. It is also essential, however, to evaluate how your parents are doing, the condition of the house, and any other clues that could reveal a care need that has gone undetected. Signs to look for include:
- A messy, unkempt appearance in either or both of your parents
- Stacks of unopened mail, debris, dirty dishes stacked in the sink, piles of laundry, and any other clues that homemaking tasks aren’t being tended to the way they should
- Burn marks on the counter or bottoms of pots and pans that may indicate inattention to cooking tasks
- Bruises or other evidence of physical injury that could have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- Too few fresh foods in the home, or expired/spoiled foods
How Home Care Assistance Can Help
At Inspired Home Care, a trusted local provider of home care services in Gold Coast, a neighborhood of Chicago, and the surrounding areas, we are always here to provide as much or as little help as needed to complement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We are able to assist with grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, and much more. We also serve as a friendly companion to ease loneliness and boredom, and to make sure the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported right away.
Call us at 847-787-7572 for more information on how we can provide families living far away from senior loved ones the peace of mind they need with our dependable, award-winning in-home care solutions. Visit our Locations Served page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.