With the average age of first-time parents gradually increasing, many people who are just learning the ins and outs of parenting are also faced with the seemingly daunting prospect of caring for their own aging parents. Sometimes, those who have families of their own are able to provide care for their elderly loved ones because they live in close proximity, but this is not always the case. At first, it may seem unmanageable to care-give from out of state, but there are many things you can do to successfully provide the necessary care while maintaining peace-of-mind for everyone involved.
1.) Keep on Top of Any Health or Behavioral Changes
If you live out of state, one of the most important things to do is track health and behavioral changes. This can be especially difficult when managing the daily care of your own children, but keeping on top of your parents’ health situation and identifying problems before they become major issues is of key importance. Also, in regards to patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any other memory issues, it is important to detect changes in behavior as soon as they happen. Of course, there are options to help in the event of an emergency such as a medical alert system, but having a home care aide readily accessible is one of the easiest ways to control the situation. It is the job of the family members to inform the home care agency of what you expect from them.
2.) Have a Plan in Place
Whether your loved one has a home care aide coming in every day or once a week, make sure the caregiver is familiar with what their patient can and can’t do physically. If there are any memory or behavioral issues make sure to let the caregiver know so they can monitor to see if anything changes. As the family member in charge of coordinating care, make sure the caregiver knows to inform the manager at their care agency, the physician on file, and the emergency contacts if a change does occur.
3.) What if a Change in Behavior or Physical Decline Occurs?
As stated above, make sure there is a plan in place. In the event that a physical decline occurs, home health might be a good option, which can be recommended from the patient’s primary care physician. Additionally, adding on caregiving hours will help mitigate the effects of a physical decline.
To start, consulting with their physician about any of your worries is a good idea. If the patient receives the right therapy and has an adequate amount of care to help them get through their day, a recovery or a partial recovery is likely depending on the reason for the physical decline. If there are times when the caregivers are not there, an emergency medical alert as mentioned above is a good idea.
If a change in mental condition occurs, the physician may recommend additional hours as well. As long as they are safe living alone, without risks such as wandering or turning on a burner and leaving it on, your parent may be able to get by just fine.
However, if there is a major physical or mental decline, the patient may need a caregiving aide 24/7 or assisted living. With caregiving agencies readily available to provide 24/7 care, patients are able to “age in place.” Family members and friends don’t have to worry about their loved ones because there is always a caregiver around to assist. Many people think assisted living and skilled nursing facilities are better options due to price, but either way works. The major benefit of having professional care is that you no longer have to worry about your loved one’s well being, knowing their needs are taken care of.