5 Tips To Help Aging Parents
Helping aging parents can be challenging. Aging parents need a plan for emergencies and day to day life. They may not be able to manage their own care. Keep reading for 5 tips to help aging parents and provide stress relief to you.
A great book on this subject is How To Care For Aging Parents.
(Friends: The links in this post are affiliate links. The Aging Authority will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through the links.)
How Can I Help My Aging Parents from a Distance?
Caring for Aging Parents is a real challenge. It can be even more difficult when living far away from them. Many adult children do not live near their parents. You may be worried about your parents when you cannot be there. There are however many way you can ensure your aging parents are safe and aging well even though you are long distance.
Here are our top 5 recommendations for successful long distance caregiving:
1. Aging Parents Need A Care Team in Place
You will need to ensure that locally you have a team in place to support your loved one when you cannot be there. This may include friends, medical professionals, professional caregivers, volunteers etc. Communicating with this network of people can help you keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on in your absence, and ensure that your parents have someone they can call upon for help. See tip number 5 for the best communication tools.
2. Visit Aging Parents Regularly
Even with a great support network in place, you will still want to visit as frequently as possible in order to get eyes on the situation and identify any red flags. Older adults can get really good at hiding their struggles so they may go un-noticed to someone who doesn’t know them as well as you. If you have siblings or other family members that are local to your parents and will be involved in your parent’s care, then you may be well covered. If you don’t, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of an Aging Life Care Professional to help you manage this. www.aginglifecare.org
3. Install a Camera Monitoring System
Modern technology makes it so much easier to connect and check in with our long distance loved. Wyze Cameras are affordable hese are very inexpensive cameras ($20-$30) that you can control from an iPhone app. You can turn the cameras off and on and have two way talk back.Video monitoring systems are affordable and readily available on today’s market and many can connect right to your smart phone. Personal emergency alert systems are also a very good idea for seniors who live alone.
4. Create an Emergency Plan For Aging Parents
All families should have an emergency plan but for long distance caregivers it is even more important. Regardless of where your loved one lives, there is always a risk of weather related power outages, displacement or other threats. Make sure your loved one knows the safe places within the home in case they need to shelter during extreme weather events, and inquire into the emergency plans and procedures that exist in their community.
You should also consider putting together a disaster kit for your loved one. This kit might include:
- Water and canned or dry foods
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A first aid kit
- Lighters and matches
- A thermal blanket and/or a sleeping bag
- Pet supplies if they have pets.
It is also very important to also have a complete medication list, ample supply of medications, and copies of all personal documents such as living wills, power of attorney and DNR. Read our Emergency Preparedness for Elderly for more information on preparing for disasters.
5. Use an Online Family Communication Tool
Communication is key to a solid caregiving plan, and is especially important when you live long-distance. You will want to check in regularly with your loved one’s local support network, but keeping up with phone calls, emails and texts can be overwhelming and often difficult for a sandwich generation caregiver to manager.
In today’s world there are so many options and tools that can make it easier to communicate effectively. One great FREE online communication tool is CareTree. As their website says, it’s incredibly simple and completely secure. You create a profile for the person receiving care and then enter all of their personal information, medications, and even upload important documents like Advanced Directives. Then you can invite others (such as family, caregivers, friends, neighbors, and medical providers) at the security level of your choosing to have access to the profile. CareTree will automatically share information that you put in the system with these individuals you added, which is much easier than endless emails chains or group texts! Then you assign responsibilities and create a schedule that everyone can use to stay on track with your caregiving plan.
We hope you found these tips helpful and easy to implement. In the world of senior care, a well mapped out and communicated plan can go a long way! To Read about other products that can help you aging parents read our blog Top 10 Products For Aging In Place