Caring for our elderly loved ones can involve juggling a cornucopia of varied responsibilities, from ensuring their personal hygiene to managing their bank accounts and assets; scheduling doctor visits to choosing residences, and so much more. The situation can potentially become stickier when you do not happen to live close to your loved one. How can you make sure that they are receiving the best care and services available, when you live 500 or more miles away, work a full-time job, are attending school, and/or have children to raise? This is a reality for many children of aging parents.
As with any intricate issue, it always helps to first determine who is around to help you. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you schedule a family meeting in-person, by phone, or via web chat, to discuss goals, air feelings and divvy up duties. There are professional businesses like 805Aging dedicated to helping lighten your load, but you may also be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are relatives and friends who would be more than happy to step up and pitch in: a friendly stop-by visit here, a ride to the doctor there – these things can add up to save you much worry.
But that brings us to the next thing: organization.
When you are the primary responsible party – and especially if you do not reside in the same location as your elderly loved one – it is important to be aware of every aspect of their care: all weekly/monthly appointment times; the names and contact information of physicians and care staff; prescribed medications and possible side effects; allergies; the list goes on. Again, other people may be enlisted to help you to gather this information, but it is imperative that it be readily available in the event of an emergency. Also, having it will allow you to plan the best care strategy as the situation evolves. 805Aging accompanies clients to doctors’ appointments and provides detailed feedback to family members in a timely and efficient manner. 805Aging keeps family members abreast of any changes in medical conditions and/or prescriptions.
Amid everything that is going on, don’t forget to also communicate directly on a regular basis with your elderly loved one. Your presence, though not always face-to-face, is still felt, and it matters greatly to them. A conversation, just to talk about the weather, or goings-on in the family, or world news, can help both of your spirits, while unearthing any potential areas of concern that may be looming. If a parent is struggling with cognitive impairment, a friendly voice on the other end of the line is equally as comforting.
Now let’s talk about guilt.
It is a human emotion, so of course we all feel its pinch from time to time. Make sure however, that you are able to manage it. You might begin by viewing your situation through a clear lens. The fact that you are living and working far away from your aging parent, does not equate to you being a less appreciative or compassionate daughter. It merely means that, like your parents before you, you’ve built a life that now involves other people than it did beforehand. You must now take into account the job market, schools, and other things that impede your ability to provide care from the same location.
If you need to talk to someone – be it a friend or a professional – about your feelings, do. It is always OK to admit when you are feeling stress, so do not worry about seeming selfish. You will not be able to provide the soundest care or make the best decisions for your loved ones if they arise from guilt. 805Aging understands, both on a professional and personal level, how stressful long distance caregiving truly is. We can be your sounding board, your advocate and your confidant.
It is quite possible to successfully care for an elderly family member when you do not live near them. Though it may involve elevated coordination skills, and the phone and internet may become your best friends, it can be done. By taking some of the steps above, you will be on your way to supplying virtually the same level of elder care that you would be able to perform in-person.
There is so much to think about when entering the later stages of life. If you are considering elder care options, we at 805Aging can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one. Be it at home or in a community, we conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and everyday.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents when they can’t take care of themselves. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. You’re not alone… and neither are your parents. -Amy