They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but living at a distance from senior parents may cause additional feelings: concern, helplessness, and worry, for example. It’s hard to understand exactly how your senior loved ones are doing through phone calls, video chats, emails, and letters. There are steps you can take, however, to ensure their health and wellbeing, even from far away, and to make the most of your in-person visits.
Communication Is Key
A sincere, open conversation with your parents pertaining to their wishes, goals, and expectations is vital to ensuring their needs are prepared for and met. Start with asking these kinds of questions:
- What forms of help might be beneficial today? For example, would your senior loved ones enjoy having help with housekeeping, errands, meal preparation? Could they use help with transportation to outings or medical appointments?
- How about your anticipated future needs? If a prolonged illness or the results of getting older make it tough to continue living alone at home, can they envision moving to assisted living? Moving in with a member of the family or a friend? Staying at home with in-home care support?
- Are there any alterations to the home they’d like to have made, in order to make life safer and easier now and in the years to come? As an example, would it be helpful 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 areas?
- Have you looked into any nearby resources that may be helpful, like a community senior center for socialization, fitness classes, fun outings, etc.? An area support group for a specific health issue, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s?
Simple Tips to Offer Assistance from a Distance
With answers to these and any other questions in hand, you can then assist in a number of ways, even from afar, such as by:
- Looking into resources
- Developing a strategy with siblings and any other family/friends who can help
- Coming up with a list of doctors, medications, and other important health information
- Making sure all legal paperwork, such as a will, living will, power of attorney, etc. are in order
- Staying in contact by phone frequently, and visiting in person whenever you can
Making the Most of Visits
Anytime you are able to visit in person, you will, of course, want to focus on quality time with your parents. It’s also important, however, to assess how your parents are doing, the condition of the house, and any other clues which could indicate a care need that has gone undetected. Signs to look for include:
- A messy, untidy appearance in either or both of your parents
- Stacks of unopened mail, clutter, dirty dishes filling the sink, piles of laundry, and any other indications that homemaking tasks aren’t being tended to the way they should
- Scorch marks on the countertop or underside of pots and pans that could indicate inattention to food preparation tasks
- Bruises or other signs of physical trauma that may have resulted from a fall or even elder abuse
- Too little fresh foods in the home, or expired/spoiled foods
How Senior Care Can Help with Distance Caregiving
At Compassionate Nursing Services, the providers of award-winning home care solutions of St. Louis and the surrounding areas, we are always here to deliver as much or as little assistance as needed to complement family care, up through and including full-time, live-in care. We are able to help with grocery shopping, preparing healthy meals, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, and more. We also serve as a friendly companion to alleviate loneliness and boredom, and to ensure that the needs of seniors are fully met, with any changes in condition reported right away.
Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 for more information on how we can offer families living far away from senior parents the peace of mind they need with our dependable, award-winning in-home care solutions of St. Louis. For a full list of the communities where we provide care, visit our Service Area page.