Alex O'Brien


How to care for ageing parents from far away

How to care for ageing parents from far away

When you live far away from an ageing parent, visiting them regularly can be expensive and time-consuming. As a result, relationships can become fractured and resentment can grow. Therefore, as our parents enter their 80s and beyond, it’s more important than ever to ensure the channels of communication are open and strong. Thankfully, it’s never been easier to maintain contact and offer support to loved ones when distance is a factor.

Establish links with members of their local community

Whether they’re still living at home or have moved to an aged care facility, it’s essential to make and maintain contact with your parents’ friends, doctors, health care professionals and other community members. Our parents always have a tend to downplay things, so having an outside opinion is a great way to ensure you know what’s really going on.

Get help

Sometimes it simply isn’t feasible to uproot your life and move thousands of kilometres away to be with your parents, even if you feel like they need help. If this is the case, consider asking one of their friends to help out with small tasks, or, if they need more help around the house, it might be a good idea to engage a cleaning service once a week. If it’s clear that they are beginning to struggle with personal care, consider hiring a professional carer. While this isn’t necessarily cheap, they can be employed on a casual basis and won’t set you back nearly as much as if you moved over to help your parents yourself.

Take advantage of technology

Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, computers and wireless internet, there’s no excuse for not staying in contact with your loved ones. It’s always a good idea to teach your parents the basics of using these technologies, or have someone in their local community give them some pointers. Knowing that you’re just a call – or video call! – away will be very reassuring.

Take every opportunity to see them

It’s not always realistic to think you’ll be able to visit your parents regularly. So, make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to do so. Holidays, birthdays and other special occasions are a fantastic excuse for a big family get together. You’ll notice how much more treasured these occasions will become to you and your family given that they occur less often. As they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

Do you live far away from your parents? Tell us in the comment section below, how do you look after them from a distance?

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