Work, family and the urge for adventure can mean that circumstances may take you to a destination miles away from the home of your parent or parents. As they get older and less able to cope with every day activities, this can create a lot of stress not being available to help or check-up on them regularly. Around 40% of elderly adults have children or family members who live too far away to offer regular help or companionship leaving many feeling lonely and depressed. But, there are steps you can take to better manage the situation so that you feel less stressed and your elderly parent feels secure while continuing to live independently in their own homes.
Ways to be a long-distance caregiver
- Call on the help of neighbours or friends who live close by to you elderly parent and ask them to be your ‘eyes and ears’. Perhaps they can call in from time-to-time’ to make sure they are coping with day-to-day activities and are able to get to medical or dental appointments.
- Make a list of emergency numbers, contacts of friends or family living close by and
- If they are on any medication, keep a record should you need to contact medical emergency services.
- Equip your elderly parent with modern technology so that you can communicate using either smart phone or laptop. SKYPE with it’s video chatting is free.
- Stay in touch. Regular contact can help determine whether an ageing parent is struggling to cope or suffering loneliness and depression.
- A lot can be done online to help such as paying bills, keeping family and friends updated, researching medical conditions to support the advice given by doctors or nurses, grocery shopping or booking appointments.
Long-distance caregivers can play a part in arranging for professional home care support when the time comes. Caregiving is not easy for the caregiver and not for the care recipient. There are sacrifices and adjustments for everyone. When you don’t live where the care is needed, it may be difficult to feel that what you are doing is enough.