Families take all shapes and sizes in today’s world. The days of kids buying a house right down the street from their parents’ house that they grew up in are often a relic of the past. While these things do happen, they are much less common today than they have ever been. More often then not adult kids move away from their aging parents which can complicate matters as parents require care in their later years.
All is not lost, even with a move that might take you half way across the country from your parents. There are still ways you can remain in close contact with your parents and be a caregiver as they are aging in place that they can rely on. You may not be able to check in on them each and every day and help them administer medication on a daily basis, but there are some things you can do to make sure your loved one is comfortable and well taken care of as they age.
The first and most important thing you can do is to keep the communication lines open. Your loved one will want to hear from you and reassuring her/him that you have an eye on what is happening as they are facing a variety of challenges can be reassuring to them. It is also important to keep lines of communication open because your loved one may get lonely and having a friendly ear to listen or a face (even on FaceTime) to see from time can make all the difference in the world to the mental health of your loved one.
Secondly, you will want to make sure you are covering all your bases when it comes to day to day care for your loved one. How will they receive groceries? What if they need medical supplies? Who will help them clean the house to make sure it remains a sanitary place to live? If you lived nearby you might be able to actually take the reigns on some of these things, but since you’re at a long distance you may need to do some research and find the best ways to take care of these difficult tasks that are required for your loved one to be able to live independently.
Finally, you may need to hire someone who can be a caregiver in your absence. There are many services that are available to help with chores around the house, grocery shopping and importantly medical care as your loved one ages. If you cannot be there, you may wish to hire someone who can act as your proxy and make sure your loved one’s best interests are met at all turns.
You can be a caregiver from long distance, but it requires a lot more work then it might if you lived right down the street. It can also be mentally taxing while you worry about making sure everything is getting done without being able to insure that it is happening physically. This is something that must be done and if you can accomplish it for your loved one who is aging in place then you will be doing them a great service in keeping them independent and allowing them tremendous peace of mind that someone they care about so much is caring for them.