Today’s families are more geographically diverse than ever before.
Caring for elderly parents from afar is a growing concern as
many families continue to branch out across the country.
Whereas it was once common for families to remain in the same city or state for generations, nowadays families routinely spread out across the country, if not the world.
Thanks to technological advancements that make it easier than ever before to stay in touch, families today can still thrive and stay close even if they live hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from one another.
One issue facing many families that have chosen to spread out is how to help Mom and Dad when they reach the age where they need their adult children’s help. While this wasn’t a problem for the families of yesteryear, it is a genuine concern for adults who live far away from their parents.
Fortunately there are ways to be there for your elderly parents even when you can’t physically be there for them.
• Speak to your parents about what they need. While some parents might not be able to realistically assess their needs, children should speak to their parents when making decisions about their care. Adults who live far away from their parents might not know exactly what Mom and Dad need, so discuss the problems they might be having on a day-to-basis to determine the level of care or assistance they will need.
• Examine finances. Managing money is often difficult for seniors who have had an accident or are dealing with a serious medical condition. Seniors might forget to pay bills or be struggling to manage money with the escalating costs of prescription medications and health care in general. To help avoid missed bills, adult children can utilize online bill paying offered by many banks, wherein bills are automatically paid each month on their due date by simply being deducted from a given account. Adult children can also consult a financial advisor to develop a plan that allows seniors access to their money while ensuring it will still be there when they need it.
• Research community resources. Many communities provide adequate resources for the elderly who might be incapacitated or otherwise need assistance. Programs such as Meals on Wheels can be a great assistance to long-distance caregivers concerned about their elderly parents. Residents of the United States can consult with the Department of Health and Human Services or visit www.Eldercare.gov and use their eldercare locator to find local agencies designed to help older persons and their families access community-based services including transportation, meal delivery and homecare.
• Stay in touch with seniors’ physicians. One way to monitor elderly parents from far away is to keep in frequent contact with their physicians. Discuss the situation with your parents’ physicians in person, and ask to be kept abreast of any changes in their health that might require altering their daily routines or homecare schedules.
For additional tips or information on helping elderly parents from afar, visit the U.S. Administration on Aging Web site at www.aoa.gov.
Caring for elderly parents from afar is a growing concern as many families continue to branch out across the country.