4 Critical Things to Consider When Living Far Away From an Elderly Parent

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old couple together on a swing

If you have a parent who is getting older, you may have started to think about their future and what kind of care they will need in their later years. These can be a hard issues to face, but can be even more of a challenge when you live in a different city or even a different country. Thankfully, there are ways you can make sure your mother and/or father is being looked after, even if you are more than a short car ride away.

#1 Communicate With Your Parents

The first thing you must do when preparing a care plan for your elderly parents is to communicate. Talk to your parent or parents about what they want, need and the different care options available to them. Be open with them about your concerns or questions. You should also talk to siblings, cousins or anyone else in the family to let them know what care your parent is receiving and what they can do to help.

Contact your parent’s health care provider as well, to make sure you know what medications and care they need. According to MyAgeingParent.com, you should also discuss with your parent what to do in the future should they fall ill or can’t make decisions. It can be a difficult topic to discuss, but make sure to go over their living will, health care proxy or power of attorney, and any other documents that will allow you to care and make decisions for them if they are unable to.

#2 Check in and Make Sure They Are Comfortable

It’s easy to worry about your mum or dad when they are far away. You want to make sure they are safe and life at home is easy and manageable for them. You can help them set up a reliable home security system that is easy to use and that you and your parent can monitor.

You can also give them a medical alert system to help in case they are injured and unable to get to a phone. Phillips Lifeline recommends contacting neighbours or friends of theirs who live nearby who could check in from time to time or if they need anything. You should also check in often, by phone or email or set up a Skype account so you can video chat.

#3 Call a Professional

According to NetMums the number of elderly people in the UK who need care will reach 1.7 million over the next 20 years. If your parent has an illness, disability or just needs help with everyday tasks, calling in a professional caregiver can be a tremendous help.

It’s important to find someone who can give your parent the personal care they need, who they will get along with and who you can trust. It can be hard to find someone reliable when you can’t interview them in person, but there are agencies who take the time to vet and screen only the best carers. They can help with personal needs, and can be a wonderful companion for your aging parent.

#4 Help with Finances

The financial strain of caring for an elderly parent can be one of the biggest challenges if you are not prepared for it, but talking to a financial planner can help you budget what you will need and you may even get a tax incentive for caring for them.

Your parents may also need help figuring out their own finances as they get older, too. Sit down with them to plan out a monthly budget for food, bills and health care expenses.

The Society of Later Life Advisors provides access to independent and accredited advisers.

As you can see, there are a handful of key aspects that should be considered when living far apart from an elderly parent. Considering these things early on can help you remain connected with you parents while ensuring they are receiving the best care available to them.