As the years go on, many of us find ourselves looking after our aging parents. This is a lot to cope with, not only because you are caring for someone who is older and more fragile but also because you are doing so from afar. You may be living in another state or even another country. The good news is that there are some things you can do to ensure that your parents get the care they deserve while still being able to have a semblance of independence. Here are six ideas to help get you started!
- Talk to your parents about their care needs
The first step is to have an open and honest conversation with your parents about their care needs. This can be difficult, but creating a plan that works for everyone is essential. Ask them what they are comfortable with and what they would like help with. You may also want to get their doctor’s opinion on what sort of care they will need in the future.
For example, you may have noticed that they have recently begun to have trouble getting around on their own. You can ask them how they would feel about moving in with you so you can help out, or you could suggest hiring a senior care service in your area to come by and help them once per week. This will ensure that you can cover all of your parents’ needs while allowing them some independence.
- Check into senior living options
Once you understand what sort of senior care your parents need, it is time to consider senior living options. There are many retirement communities, including independent living and assisted living facilities. For example, suppose your parents still like the idea of having their own home but would like some help with things like grocery shopping, laundry, and taking their medications on schedule. In that case, an assisted living community may be a good fit. If they are less independent and need more around-the-clock care, a nursing home may be better.
It is important to research and find a senior living community that feels like the right fit for both you and your parents. This can be a difficult decision, but it will ultimately benefit everyone involved.
- Organize help from family and friends
If you cannot move in with your parents or take them into your own home, don’t worry—you can still get them the help they need! Ask your siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles to help out with things like grocery shopping, taking them to appointments, or just spending time with them. This can be an excellent way for your entire family to come together and care for your parents.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any family members close by! There are plenty of other people who would be more than happy to help out. Ask your friends if they know anyone who could provide occasional senior care.
- Stay in touch with your parents
It can be hard to stay in touch with your parents when you live far away, but it is important to try. Set up a regular time each week or month when you call them, Skype with them, or even send them an email. This will help you keep tabs on their health and well-being, and they will appreciate the chance to stay in touch with you, too.
- Visit them often
The best way to take care of your aging parents is to visit them often. This doesn’t have to be a long trip—even a weekend visit can make a big difference. Seeing your parents in person will help you ensure that they are getting the care they need, and it will also allow you to spend some quality time with them.
- Manage their medication
One of the most important aspects of caring for aging parents is managing their medications. This includes ensuring they are taking the right doses at the right times and that they have enough medication to last them until your next visit. You may also want to ask their doctor if there are any over-the-counter medications they can take in addition to their prescription medications. If you live far away, it is a good idea to set up a system with your parents’ doctor or pharmacist so that you can be updated on any changes in their medication schedule.
Distance should never keep you from caring for your aging parents. By using these tips, you can ensure that they receive the care they need and still maintain some level of independence.