If you are a caregiver of an aging parent that doesn’t physically live near her parent, you might be wondering how you can support your parent to live independently. While many caregivers can run errands for their parent and make daily visits, if you even live an hour away or more, you might find daily check ins are just not logistically possible. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with your parent even when you live a significant distance away from her.
The one good thing about the pandemic is that it taught many of us how to use technology to connect when we can’t be there in person. Helping your parent learn programs such as Skype, Zoom and even Facetime, will help you to have video chats with your parent so you can actually see her when you talk to her. A visual connection can help you notice things like if she’s losing weight, not taking care of her physical appearance or even how she’s doing with household chores (ask her to give you a “virtual” tour).
Reach out to those you know.
Asking neighbors to help with shoveling the sidewalk or raking the leaves is one way to help your parent stay connected to her community. If you have any family members that live near your parent, see if they can help with creating freezer meals for your parent or visiting her safely on a regular basis. Teens may even enjoy having a “job” where they get paid to mow the lawn or walk the dog. You can also investigate clubs and faith communities that your parent is connected with to see if they have support systems you can lean on.
Hire some help.
If you don’t already have a senior care provider, this might be a great time to think about adding one to your care team. A senior care provider can help with numerous chores, transportation needs and even just socialization. Your senior care professional can also be another person for you to connect with and ask questions about how your parent is managing a certain task or element of her home.
Purchase assistive devices.
You and your parent might like a little more peace of mind by having your parent wear an alert device that calls out for help if she falls. A device that alerts your parent when it’s time to take her medications will help her stay on track with important daily medications.
Use delivery services.
You can order all the groceries your parent needs and have them delivered to her home without having to leave your own home, no matter how far away you live. There are also meal delivery plans that you might want to sign up for if your parent needs assistance in having nutritious and ready-to-eat meals. Delivery services can be set up for almost any product your parent may need.
Physical visits with your parent are the best but not always possible, especially when you live a distance away. Setting up other sources of support will help you serve your parent as her caregiver no matter where you reside.