In an ideal world, our aging parents would live nearby enough that each generation could help one another on a daily or at the least, weekly basis. Grandparents could pitch in with a little babysitting while adult kids could offer assistance with home repair projects, rides to doctor visits or a regular Sunday family dinner. But more often than not, education, work or personal relationships pull families long distances away from one another and as a result both parenting and aging become solo pursuits without the benefit of a close, extended family.
If this is your scenario, you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 7 million Americans are in the same situation. Providing care for aging parents from distance is challenging to say the least, especially when there is no immediate family nearby to supply “boots on the ground” support.
In some situations, elderly parents can be convinced to move closer to family where support can be provided more regularly and with greater ease. However, as most caregivers of seniors can attest to, change is difficult. When resistance to change or a lack of good communication between family members is apparent, a geriatric care manager might be a good choice to help create a care plan. Sometimes, a neutral third party can best facilitate developing a template for the physical, emotional and financial care of elderly family members.
Families who live away from aging parents may be able to offer some support, playing to their strengths, by handling finances, communicating with healthcare providers or making regular visits, phone or video calls. But as needs increase, the necessity for in-person care rises. Someone outside the family, with experience, resources and a “tool kit” to overcome challenges can be invaluable for navigating health care and government resources effectively.
Check with local hospitals and care facilities for references. For an example of private elder care management visit http://eldercaring.ca .