Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Caring for Elderly Parents from a Distance

Elderly in wheelchair

*You’ve grown up, moved away from home, and started your own life in a new country. While you may not see your parents every day, since you are thousands of miles apart, you would do anything for them. As they get older, you worry about their health and well-being. Even though the distance can make it more difficult, there still are plenty of ways you can help your aging parents.

Communicate Regularly

One of the best things you can do for your parents is simply keep in touch with them. If they are tech-friendly, set up weekly FaceTime calls so you can see and talk to each other. Have your kids tell their grandparents about school and their hobbies. Ask your parents how they’re doing and what they need help with. If they don’t like using computers, you can still communicate over the phone with an international phone plan or send them letters with pictures, care packages and other treats to really make their day.

Arrange Visits

When phone calls and video chats aren’t enough, make plans to visit your parents in person. Not only do you want to enjoy each other’s company, but going to their home can help you assess how their doing and any changes that need to be made. Help them with any repairs around the house and alterations that need to be made for their physical health, such as handrails in the bathroom or adjusting the height of their bed so it’s easier to get in and out. You should also plan for them to come visit you whenever possible. It’s important for older people to stay active and get out of the house for both their physical and mental health.

If your parents want to make the visit permanent and move to the United States, help them fill out all of the necessary forms and paperwork to obtain a green card. This can be a confusing process, so look for help from organizations like SimpleCitizen to answer any questions.

Find Help Nearby

If your parents can’t come live with you in the U.S., you may want to find help near where they live. If they are having a hard time keeping up with the bigger chores around the house, hire someone to do repairs, take care of the yard and clean the house on a regular basis. Or if they’re having some minor health problems, you can find a local nurse or elderly care service to check in on them as needed. It also may be a good idea to appoint a family manager who can keep you up-to-date on your parents’ physical and mental well-being since you won’t be there to see them regularly.

Plan for the Future

When you see your parents it’s important to make plans for the future. As they age, their needs will change quickly, and you should understand their wishes. Sign any legal documents and take care of their finances early on so there aren’t any problems if an emergency arises. Also, discuss the possibility of bringing in elderly care or having them live in a nursing home. Research and check out your options so your parents feel just as comfortable with the situation as you do.

Most importantly, make sure your parents know and feel how much you love them. It can be difficult to have the same bond when you’re far away, but do everything you can to show your parents how much you care about them. That’s what family is about after all.

 

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