Often as parents age, in today’s world, we find the children and primary contacts live far away. Here are some tips for families to share to help those far away to stay connected with parent’s caregiving and help alleviate the guilt of not living closer.
Have a plan
Outline the major responsibilities involved in your parents care and develop a system to keep everything organized - including items like regular doctor's appointments, bills and account information and activities, along with dates, intervals and the names of those responsible.
Also have an emergency action plan. What if your parent is hospitalized? Who will be first to respond? Be sure emergency contact information is current, that everyone knows their role, and that your parent's health care proxy and living will documents are accessible. While it's a sensitive and difficult topic, be sure you know your parent's end of life wishes.
Meet the Caregivers
If possible, meet in-home or care home caregivers face to face, at least once. For those in a nursing home or retirement village meet the key staff members who will be interacting with your parent. For those with in-home care nurses, and doctors may be among those most involved in your parent's care so try to put a face to a name.
Keep in touch
Maintaining close relationships with your loved one's caregiving community is smart, helpful, and easier than ever. Ask them how they would like to keep in touch: email, Facebook, text, daily phone call? Get and use their contact details. Consider equipping Mum or Dad with an inexpensive laptop or a pricier but more portable iPad. Skype is a wonderful way for them to also stay in touch with growing grandkids and for you to keep an inadvertent eye on them too.
Make sure there are plenty of family pictures, cards and kids' art around their room and make sure they are surrounded with familiar items of their choosing.
Share the caring
If you have siblings or other close family members, be sure to share the responsibilities so you can all stay in touch and be connected with anything that happens.
While distance may separate you both physically there is no reason you can’t stay close with just these few simple strategies.
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