Long Distance Home Care – How to Help Your Elderly Parents When You’re Far Away
Helping your elderly parents as they age is a challenging task for all adult children, but it is especially difficult for those that live far away. Modern families are spread out more than ever before. In fact, the National Institute on Aging estimates that more than 7 million Americans are long distance family caregivers. The reality is that it will take more effort on your part to be a long distance family caregiver, but the good news is that you are not alone and help is available.
The first thing you need to do, as always, is to talk with your parents and listen to their vision of how they want to live. Include your siblings and other close family members in the conversation, but keep in mind that you are there to support your parents. Avoid the impulse, no matter how well-intentioned, of “parenting your parents”. If you create an atmosphere of open communication that respects them as individuals, you will be able to develop a plan that allows them to maintain control of their lives while maintaining their health and safety. This approach will be much more productive and less stressful for the entire family.
You need to understand that most people do not want to give up their independence, and you can expect some resistant from your parents to accepting any help. However, if you are working to provide the type of lifestyle that your parents want, you will naturally be suggesting ideas that support their goals. Don’t try to solve everything at once; start small. For instance, if your father enjoys gardening you may suggest hiring a neighborhood teenager to cut the lawn so your father can spend more time in his garden. If your mother enjoys cooking but driving is a concern, arrange for a grocery delivery service or have someone shop for her. Certainly your situation will be unique, but the point is to identify small ways to introduce help that supports your parents’ choices.
Other support options may include laundry, house cleaning, and meal preparation. Again, start small. You might consider purchasing a gift certificates from a local restaurant, house cleaning company, or a laundry service. Allowing your parents to utilize this type of help, on their own terms, provides them with the level of control that we all want in our lives. All care, whether provided by professionals or family members, needs to be delivered in a way that respects the individuals and treats them with the respect that they deserve.
Professional home care may be an option because it can provide most of the support that is necessary. Professional caregivers provide personal care, but they also assist with meal preparation, house cleaning, medication reminders, transportation and so much more. There is no limit to the type of support and care that you can arrange for through a professional home care agency. Customized plans can be as simple as a weekly wellness check or providing transportation to a doctor’s appointment. The type of care can be modified to meet your changing needs over time and may expand to include help with bathing, toileting, or grocery shopping.
Your parents will be more receptive to accepting help that they maintain control over. Your parents not only select their own professional caregiver matches their personality, but they also determine what services they provide and when they provide them. Also, with the technology used by quality home care companies you can get complete internet access to the Plan of Care, notes, schedule, and real-time arrival and departure notifications of your Caregiver. These tools, when combined with 24x7 live response phone support, can provide long distance caregivers with the peace of mind that they need.