Many older Americans are choosing to age in place – a dignified option that can ensure they stay in familiar, comfortable surroundings. However, you may worry about your ability to look after a grandparent or parent who is starting to have some health issues and needs help with daily tasks. Caregiving for a loved one in a different state can be stressful, especially when you can’t visit them as often as you’d like due to the other responsibilities in your life.
Here are five strategies for helping aging parents or other loved ones, even when you’re far away.
1. Assess What You Can Do
It’s unrealistic to try to tackle everything your loved one needs help with. Accept that, then honestly look at what you can accomplish from a distance. For example, if you’re good with money, you can offer to manage their budget, pay their bills and look after their investments. If you’re detail-oriented, you could coordinate their doctor’s visits or arrange a regular meal delivery service. Once you’ve honestly evaluated what you can help with, you can make a plan that covers the gaps.
2. Have a Family Meeting
Gather all your family members, in person or virtually, and get everyone on the same page about your loved one’s needs and wants. Then, you can assign everyone different responsibilities based on their skills and availability. Designate a power of attorney who can make various legal and financial decisions on your loved one’s behalf.
3. Plan Frequent Visits
To strengthen your relationship and show how much you care, make time to visit with your loved one. You don’t have to plan any elaborate activities – just enjoy each other’s company.
4. Have an Emergency Plan
Make a plan for how to quickly get to your loved one’s side if they have a serious fall or another medical emergency. If you anticipate that you may need to take an extended period off work, consider whether you are eligible to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. You might want to keep a small carry-on packed with toiletries and essential clothing, so you don’t have to stop and think about what to bring with you.
5. Stay Connected
If your loved one has received a diagnosis of a progressive illness like dementia, you’ll want to schedule regular phone calls with their physician and care team for updates on their health. Of course, don’t forget to call your loved one to stay in touch and tell them you’re thinking about them.
Bringing Stability, Dignity, and Companionship to Older Adults
No matter how far away you live, you can still provide excellent care to your loved one by trusting our professional, highly trained team at Legacy Homecare LA. We follow customized treatment plans for people living with a range of conditions, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, ALS, heart disease, and Parkinson’s. Our services are flexible enough to adapt to your loved one’s changing needs.
Let us take the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one off your shoulders. To learn more about what sets our Care Companions apart and how we can become an integral part of your family’s aging-in-place plans, contact us today.