October 9, 2014 at 5:21 PM EDT
How to care for your aging parents from a distance | PBS NewsHour
No longer just a devoted daughter or son, you’re now what the professionals in the aging field call a “long-distance caregiver.” Thrust into what is often a new world of intricate responsibilities, you may find it hard to see the personal rewards ahead. But they are there, as is the help available to assist you on this caregiving journey.
There is no one right way to be a caregiver; everyone’s situation is different. You will find that, among a host of things, family dynamics, financial resources and the ability of your parent(s) to provide guidance for the support that they desire will shape your situation.
You can expect your caregiving responsibilities to include, at a minimum, two key functions: information gatherer (from your parent[s], websites, books, word of mouth, etc.) and coordinator of services (contacting potential service providers, scheduling, coordinating payment, monitoring medical care). Do plan on traveling and spending some time on the phone to arrange care and services.
It will help you immensely if, before there is a crisis, your parent(s) provide you with information to locate their important records, phone numbers, email addresses and other essential contact information. If a crisis has already occurred, such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury, this information is still important to gather, but it may require more detective work on your part.
To help you get started, here are a few key tips to keep in mind:
The good news is that with so many of us involved in care from a distance, there’s lots of information to help. Here are a few additional guides offering checklists and specific tips to help you in your long-distance caregiving journey.