When you’re younger, your parents take care of you, and when you become an adult, you’re expected to return the favor in kind. That’s right – caring for aging parents is an issue that any adult child has on their radar. If you live far from your folks, it may even be one that’s more prominently on your mind. But, you’re not alone in this obstacle, as nearly seven million Americans are responsible for the care of an older relative or friend who lives an average of 300 miles away.
Don’t guilt-trip yourself too much, however. For every problem, there is a solution, and there are definitely ways to approach caring for your folks in their older age from a distance. Here is how you can get started:
- Keep in touch with your parents’ doctors, either by phone or through email. Ask questions that enable you to understand what treatment they are receiving, what alternatives may exist, and what type of assistance your parents may need.
- Before a crisis occurs, work with your parents to collect the necessary medical, financial, and legal information you may need to help properly care for them. Make a list of family, friends, and others, who live near your parents, to assist in the case of an emergency.
- Join a support group for caregivers in your area. Not only will you receive support, but you will also learn about the aging process and can share in resources.
- If your parents have a family member nearby providing them with assistance, be sure to offer support to that person as well. He or she often bears the brunt of the stress and physical support needed to care for your parents.
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