Long-Distance Caregiving

Caring for elderly and aging parents can be quite complex, particularly if there is a geographical barrier of distance between you and your parents. Here are six ways you can ensure your aging parents are receiving the care, love, and support needed.

1 – Daily Check In
This is probably one of the most important services you can offer your aging parents, especially when your parents live a long way from your family. With the technology in the world today, no one is ever too far away to make contact.

Make a daily telephone call or email chat time with your parents and check in every day. You may only spend a few minutes on the phone, but this time gives you the peace of mind of knowing your parents are okay, and enables you to share in your parents’ lives.

2 – Meal Delivery Services
As people get older it can become difficult to go grocery shopping and to prepare and cook nutritious meals. Many elderly people find it so bothersome to cook that living off cheese and tomato sandwiches can seem like an easy solution. If you want to be sure that your aging parents are eating properly, consider organising meals to be delivered to your parents’ home. This way, your parents do not have to go shopping, prepare, or cook meals, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing your parents are receiving meals that form a nutritionally balanced diet.

You can order meals that suit your parents’ tastes, medical conditions, and dietary requirements. You may want to order only meals on a few days to start with, just to give your parents a break. Later, you can increase the services to provide full meals for your aging parents. This service is particularly useful if you have only one parent now living, especially if your parent is not used to cooking for himself.

3 – House Cleaning Services
There are many different types of house cleaning services available, from a daily clean to a weekly, fortnightly, or even monthly clean. As your parents age, it becomes harder to maintain a clean house, so organising and paying for appropriate house cleaning services can really provide care to your aging parents.

At first, you may want to supplement the cleaning your parents can cope with by ordering a monthly clean for the bathroom, kitchen, main living areas, and difficult tasks like cleaning the blinds or the windows. As your parents become less able to cope with tasks like vacuuming and dusting, you may need to consider having the house cleaner come more often.

4 – House and Lawn Maintenance Services
Many of the jobs for maintaining a house and garden become too difficult when people age and become frail. Let us face it, do you really want your 85 year old mother or father climbing a ladder to clean out the gutters on the roof? Organise for a local house maintenance person to come out and do these kinds of odd jobs about once a month.

If your parents live in a house with a garden and a lawn that needs maintenance, you will also need to arrange for regular lawn mowing and gardening services.

5 – Enlist Neighbour’s Help
When you visit your parents, make sure you meet with the neighbours too. A good neighbour can help by keeping a general watch over your parents, and assisting with on the spot local aid, such as driving your parents to the doctor or hospital in an emergency.  Exchange telephone and email contact details with the neighbours, and make contact every month or so to confirm everything is all right.

6 – Confirm Bill Payments and Doctor’s Appointments
As people age, it becomes easier to forget to complete tasks like paying bills, or making a doctor’s appointment for a regular check-up. Without destroying your parent’s feelings of independence, you can keep your own records of regular bills and appointments, and give your parents reminders about these items, when necessary.

Even though there is a long distance separating you from your aging parents, you can still provide love, care, and support and become a long distance caregiver.