For many of us, we live at a distance from our loved ones and often struggle with ways to assure they are safe, and their needs are being met.
According to an article written by ‘Senior Path’ out of Denver Co, there are ‘7 Steps to Help your Elderly Parents from a Distance.’
- Assess the situation
- Know your options
- Hold a family meeting
- Gather contact information
- Create an emergency plan
- Set up a security system
- Keep in touch
This list may seem overwhelming for families who have busy lives, jobs, family, etc. so, there are people who can help to do all these things. If your loved one qualifies there are county care managers who can assist. If they do not qualify for their services, a geriatric care manager can be hired to assist in all these areas and more.
For families who want to move ahead with this list on their own, lets break down some of these tasks to better understand them.
- When you go home to visit there are things to take notice of when you walk in the door: how does it smell, how does the home look, how do your loved ones look, what kind of food is in the home, how old is it. How does their car look, any new dents? Compare all of this to your last visit to see if there are notable changes. It would be good to schedule your visit around a doctor appt. to hear the current medical concerns/assessment.
- Knowing your options is a great way to work with your loved one on the alternative housing available in the community. Visit local assisted livings facilities and/or senior housing before you need it, to learn what are available. Understand what home care agencies and transportation services that are available in the area.
- Holding a family meeting can be tricky but so important. Open communication is so important for all involved. Sharing what you have learned in your assessment and what the rest of the family have seen helps lay the foundation of how to move forward.
- Gathering contact information is a great help when you are at a distance but want updates on medical concerns and other areas. Gather names and phone numbers of their doctors, emergency services, insurance information, attorney, friends/neighbors who may stop in and check on them.
- Creating an emergency plan is vital for those checking in on them. Have your contact information listed on their fridge. Do they have a health care directive in place and does the hospital and clinic have copies as well as the healthcare agents so their wishes can be honored? How about financial power of attorney, who can assist with bill paying if they can’t?
Many of these things will help to prevent a situation from developing into a crisis.
Having a medical alert in place is also very important.
Keeping in touch is always important whether you live 20 miles away or hours away. This helps both you and your loved one.
So, it is commendable to want to be there for your loved ones! But, also keep in mind, you do not have to do this alone.