Caring for a Loved One Long Distance
For many seniors, the idea of moving in with an adult child or entering into assisted living is a dark shadow that looms over the joys of retirement. But with a little creative thinking, independence can still be a way of life. Here are a few tips for helping your aging parents remain in their personal comfort zone for as long as possible.
Monitor Home Security From Afar
Seniors, especially those who live alone, are often singled out by unscrupulous scammers or become the victim of burglars and broken windows. If you can’t be there 24/7, technology makes it easy for you to help protect your mom or dad, regardless of distance. There are a number of home security companies that offer mobile access to alarms and locks, meaning you can arm and disarm your parents’ security system from afar.
Seniors with mobility issues will also benefit from a personal emergency response system (PERS) – a small, wearable device wirelessly connected to a dedicated call system. AARP offers more information about PERS to help you choose which device/system is best for your aging parent in this article.
Delegate Daily Care
Housecleaning is a chore no matter how old you are. But the constant bending and stooping, climbing, sweeping, and exposure to strong chemicals can take a toll on aging bodies. Many seniors unwillingly allow their homes to fall into disarray, which can be both a physical and mental health hazard. Care Guide’s ElderCare.com features an impressive network of senior care specialists from speech and physical therapists to personal support workers. You can select your desired level of care, whether dad needs help with the laundry, or if mom needs a live-in companion.
Don’t Dismiss the Dog
More than 36% of Americans currently own and care for one or more canine companions. Unfortunately, accident, injury, and age often tear these faithful friends apart. Studies have shown that having a pet can increase the mental health and cognitive abilities of senior citizens. But, if your mom or dad has trouble feeding, bathing, or exercising their precious pooch, it may be time to establish a relationship with a reputable animal care service provider. Rover.com boasts an extensive and active database of dog loving do-gooders who can take over some of the more tedious tasks of animal care for your parents. You can even find reputable boarding facilities in case of unexpected absences.
Doctor on Demand?
While it’s important for your parent to have a relationship with a local primary care provider, getting back and forth to unexpected doctor visits can be a chore. High-speed internet and quality webcams have made it possible for seniors to receive medical care without leaving their favorite armchair. Doctor on Demand is an online service that will allow your parent to have a face-to-face conversation with a certified healthcare professional for everything from allergies to influenza. Doctors are available 24/7 to offer medical advice and help your parents better manage their chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and thyroid problems.
Thanks to today’s technology, it’s possible to be there for your family, even when you’re not. And while no digital device or parental care proxy can fully replace you being by their side, your parents don’t have to be alone while remaining independent.
*A special thanks to Elder Impact, who wrote the article for Your Home Companion.