Caring for our aging parents is no longer as simple as a quick trip across town. Globalization has made it possible to live anywhere in the world. As such, the old “neighborhood” feel our parents knew is becoming less and less familiar. Currently, it’s estimated that approximately 34 million Americans are caregivers for an older parent and of that number 15% live one or more hours away from the care recipient.
The demands of elder care are never easy, but imagine adding three thousand miles of separation into the equation? Fortunately, there are strategies to decrease the burden of long-distance caregiving.
- Start the conversation early. It will make you feel secure knowing that your care choices are following your loved one’s desires. Plus, understanding their wishes allows for an opportunity to prepare. Some things your loved one will need to consider include: What are my medical wishes should life-sustaining treatment be necessary? Who will make health-care decisions or control my finances if I cannot be autonomous? How much money is allocated towards care expenses? How do I prefer to live if I grow unable to care for myself? Being open and honest is the absolute best policy.
- Schedule a family meeting. At this point, you’ll have the information you need to assign roles to the appropriate family members. You may want to find a local Elder Law Attorney who can represent your aging parent while you are away. This may also be the time to look for care services in your parent’s area that are reputable, accessible and compassionate.
- Ask for help. No question is too insignificant to ask! Even if elder care is not in your foreseeable future, why not have a few resources in your back pocket that are ready to assist if crisis strikes? Life can be tenuous as we age. Distance makes it worse. Don’t make the process more difficult by being blind-sided.
If distance constraints your ability to care for an aging loved one, we would be honored to take your place. Our vetted referral network can help make the process more comprehensive. Call us anytime at 1.877.687.7380 (NURSE80).