Do you have parents who are older, but still wish to remain living independently? While they are not near ready to move into a skilled nursing care facility or an assisted care living home, you still need to be able to communicate properly with them. This will allow you to stay in touch and determine what needs they have, even though you may be many miles apart. Their safety is your main concern. Here are just a few ways that you can care for a parent as well as still keep an eye out for their well-being while you’re living miles away.
Accessing Reliable Cell Phone And Service
Being able to pick up the phone and call your parent at the drop of a hat is important when there are miles between the two of you. Many new smartphones can be cumbersome for someone with arthritis or hearing and visual impairments. A phone that has large buttons, an easy to read screen and enhanced graphics, like the Jitterbug phone, makes it more likely that your loved one will communicate effectively with it. Set up a plan that makes it easy to monitor cell phone usage and bill paying. Choose a plan that is affordable and gives your loved one the right options for their phone usage.
Installing An Alarm And Added Security Measures
Caring for your loved one across the miles means making sure their home is safe and secure. This could mean setting up a home security or surveillance system. Connecting this to a smart hub in the home can allow you to remotely access house activity from your smartphone or computer. You can also add other safety measures to the hub, using smart home technology including:
- A programmable thermostat.
- Carbon monoxide and fire detector.
- Flood detector.
- Control of electronic devices and lighting.
- Monitor usage of appliances and fuel.
Shop around for the right equipment and plans. Even though your parent may be on a fixed social security income, you can still find an affordable home security option. You may also want to consider installing a home medical alert system. This can also connect to a home’s smart hub to keep you in the loop anytime your loved one may fall, call 911 or need any type of medical assistance.
Utilizing Home Health Care Services
Is your parent in need of medical care? Are they homebound or is it difficult for them to get to the doctor? A home health care team can be very beneficial in making sure that all of their medical needs are met. Your loved one’s doctor can make a referral and from there, an interdisciplinary team can correlate the best treatment options for your parent. This may include:
- Daily or routine visits from a nurse to provide care.
- Home health aide visits to assess vitals and provide baths and assist with ADLs—or activities of daily living.
- Frequent visits from a social worker to assess personal needs and provide resources.
- Wound care and ostomy nurses for specific skin care needs.
No matter what type of help your parent needs, be assured that there is a home health care agency that can meet their specialized needs.
Hiring A Part-Time Caregiver
While a home health care company can provide the medical care that your loved one needs, a caregiver can offer a different type of support. Respite care is one example. For respite, a caregiver comes to your parent’s home and stays for extended periods of time. This is good if your loved one lives alone or with a spouse who needs to get a break and take time out from the life of a busy caregiver. Some caregivers will also:
- Run miscellaneous errands.
- Pick up prescriptions or other medical supplies.
- Drop your parent off at a doctor’s appointment or social gathering.
- Cook and prepare meals.
- Tidy up around the house and perform general housekeeping duties.
You may wish to contact the area on aging or local community senior center for more information on referrals or contacts of people who are willing to be caregivers for older adults.
No matter how many miles separate you and your parent, there are many ways that you can make sure they’re taken care of properly. Accessing the right resources makes all the difference.
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