People say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but long-distance senior care may cause additional feelings: concern, helplessness, and worry, for example. It’s hard to know precisely how older loved ones are doing through telephone calls, letters, emails, and video chats. There are numerous actions you can take, however, to ensure their health and wellbeing, even from a distance, and to make the most of your in-person visits.
Communication Is Important
An honest, open discussion with your parents pertaining to their goals, wishes, and expectations is vital to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Begin by asking the following kinds of questions:
- What kinds of help might be useful today? For instance, would senior loved ones enjoy having help with housekeeping, errands, meal preparation? Could they use assistance with transportation to outings or medical appointments?
- How about expected future needs? If a chronic illness or the results of aging make it difficult to continue living alone in the home, do they envision relocating to assisted living? Moving in with a relative or friend? Staying at home with in-home care assistance?
- Are there any adjustments to their home they would like to have made, to make life safer and easier now and in the years to come? As an example, would it be good 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 locations?
- Have you looked into any nearby resources that could be helpful, such as a community senior center for socializing, fitness classes, fun outings, etc.? A local support group for a particular health issue, like Parkinson’s or dementia?
How You Can Help from a Distance
With answers to these and any other questions at your fingertips, you can then help in a number of ways, even from afar, such as with:
- Looking into resources
- Setting up a plan with siblings and any other family/friends who are able to help
- Putting together a list of medical professionals, medications, and other important health information
- Guaranteeing all legal papers, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Staying in contact via telephone, and visiting in person whenever you can
Making the Most of Visits
Whenever you are able to visit in person, you will, of course, wish to concentrate on quality time with your senior parents. It is also essential, however, to evaluate how your parents are doing, the condition of the home, and any other signs that may indicate a care need that has gone undetected. Signs to look for include:
- A disheveled, untidy appearance in either or both of your parents
- Stacks of unopened mail, clutter, dirty dishes stacked in the sink, piles of laundry, and any other clues that housekeeping tasks aren’t being tended to the way they should
- Scorch marks on the countertop or the underside of pans and pots that may indicate inattention to cooking tasks
- Bruises or any other signs of physical injury which could have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- Too little fresh foods in the home, or expired/spoiled foods
How Our Agency Can Help with Long-Distance Senior Care
At Anthem Home Care, we are always here to provide as much or as little support as needed to supplement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We can help with grocery shopping, creating healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, plus much more. We also serve as a friendly companion to alleviate loneliness and boredom and to make sure that the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported right away.
Contact us at 361-643-2323 for more information on how we can offer families living at a distance from senior parents the peace of mind they need with our dependable, award-winning home care services in Portland and the surrounding areas.