How to Care for an Elderly Parent Who Doesn’t Live With You
When you have an aging parent who lives across the city, the country or the world, it can be stressful trying to keep in touch. Are they doing okay? Do they need help? Are they lonely? If you’ve ever moved away from your hometown, you may start to understand how Mom or Dad might have felt at that time.
However, they may now need more help than you did. How do you support an aging parent when you don’t live nearby? The good news: you can still care for them from wherever you are.
Schedule regular visits
Depending on how far away you live, try to schedule regular visits. If you’re in the same city, try to see them a few times a month. Schedule an event the same day every week so it’s easy for them (and you) to remember.
It’s a great time to help Mom or Dad clean the house, organize belongings and medications, and keep them company. Play board or card games, watch movies, go for walks, and whatever you can do to keep minds sharp and bodies as active as possible.
Check in remotely
You can’t always be there in person, but you can always support them in other ways. Call Mom or Dad regularly, send them informative emails (even if they’re just family updates), and set up a video chat whenever possible.
If they aren’t tech savvy, teach them how to use tools like Skype the next time you visit—or have someone else walk them through it and leave instructions if necessary.
Send them letters or gifts
Sometimes, a token of appreciation is a moving way to show you care. Feeling loved can result in better health. Research has shown that chronic loneliness and depression can result in high blood pressure, a weaker immune system, and increased cortisol (a stress hormone) in seniors. Let Mom or Dad know you’re thinking about them by sending handwritten letters, flowers, and other gifts. It might make a world of difference.
Hire a caregiver
It’s okay if you can’t be there all the time. Hiring a caregiver may be the best decision you can make for your parents—especially if they want to age comfortably at home. At Nurse Next Door, our caregivers are mobile and can come in as often as needed, providing physical support like helping with daily chores, grocery shopping and personal hygiene, and mental support like reminders and companionship. Nurse Next Door lets your parents keep living their lives.
It’s perfectly normal to worry about your elderly parents. But there are many ways you can care for them, no matter where they live. Consider hiring a caregiver. Let daughters be daughters.
How do you care for Mom or Dad? Share your story in the comments below.