The older one gets, the more they tend to appreciate the relationships that matter most. In many cases, it’s loving and appreciating aging parents. It’s only natural that we want to take care of our parents, especially as they age. The question becomes: How can well-meaning adult children provide support and care when they don’t live in the same area?
It’s a dilemma that countless people face and our clients frequently ask us. Luckily, it is not one without any solutions. Although regularly stopping by to see them might not be an option, with a little information and some extra effort you can do a lot for your parents.
Let us share five ways you can provide support for elder parents no matter how big the distance.
1. Create a “Care” Notebook. This is a tool that has never been more manageable than in our current digitized world. Create an online notebook you can share with your aging parents and siblings that lists key contact, health, calendar, and other important information that may need to be available at a moment’s notice.
You may want to go a step beyond sharing it. Consider allowing family and friends to have the ability to add to it. This shared project can be a great way to infuse a network of support with updates and happenings about your elderly loved one.
2. Regular Conversations. The best practice is to call regularly and visit whenever you can. Encourage others to do the same, and be sure to make the most out of each opportunity. The easiest way to feel a connection might just be calling and saying hi, then listening. Other occasions might require leading questions and some gentle probing. For example, “What’s on the agenda for this afternoon?” or “How’s Dr. Smith?”
3. Build a Local Support Network. If you live far away, you obviously can’t just pop by when you need to. In the case of a health issue, or an emergency, this can a serious problem.
One way to hedge against such scenarios is to develop a list of key individuals such as neighbors, care providers, doctors, and others who can pitch in during an emergency. Be sure they have your contact information to facilitate an efficient two-way communication and ultimately know who is in charge pursuant to your parents’ Florida estate planning.
4. Daily Assistance. Long distance relationships by nature are void of daily appearances. Don’t wait to make sure your potentially isolated parents have continuous interaction. Work on coordinating with various organizations and individuals to schedule frequent assistance such as meal deliveries, check-ups from home health aides, and others.
5. Involving Family Members. No one wants their adult parents to be alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone either. Spread the love and share the burden together. Involve other family members to assist in communication, and other important health, financial, social, and legal considerations.
Often family members with the closest geographic proximity are relied upon the most, but with involved family members there doesn’t have to be any undue burdens. Work together on the elder care issues facing your aging parents as a team. Don’t forget, we are here to help and would love to discuss the planning you need for success.