Getting older can be tough. Not only for those whose bodies are aging, but for your loved ones as well.  It can be hard for children to see their parents getting older while seniors themselves may struggle accept the gradual loss of independence.  While parents raise their children during their formative years, there is a sort of role reversal that takes place when the parents become elderly.

Taking care of an aging loved one can be a challenge but when they live in another city or state, the challenges may seem overwhelming. Regardless of medical conditions, any change in health status can cause stress and concern that feels impossible to manage from so far away. Fortunately, there are strategies, tips, and help for long-distance caregivers.


Be Prepared, Think Ahead

There are several additional challenges that arise when taking care of an aging parent from long distance including:

  • Deciding on a primary caregiver
  • Juggling family and career demands
  • Handling new sources of financial strain
  • Assessing care needs and finding resources at a distance

Whether you are facing the need to move them into a assisted living facility or simply hiring in-home care, living out of the state only compounds the logistics and shortens the time you have to explore your options.  The truth is that many people don’t deal with care options until they are faced with a crisis and, as a result, the decision is rushed with less than ideal results.  The solution is to be informed ahead of time, research your options, and try to plan ahead. Though the topic may be uncomfortable, discussing their wishes and preparing early can benefit everyone overall.


Schedule Family Meetings

While coming to terms with the possibility of needing senior care services, one has to face the facts and talk openly with the family about the impending future.  Family meetings should ideally be scheduled when the entire family can be present.  These meetings should be used to organize important documents and paperwork while discussing how everyone is going to handle responsibilities regardless of distance.  Create a folder with all necessary documents and a list of services and communities that interest you. Make sure remain aware of how independent living is working: Is bathing and dressing a problem? Is the kitchen clean and well-stocked with healthy food? Can medication and medical appointments be maintained without help?


Selecting a Caregiver

Since children are unable to be around to take care of their parents in the home, it’s necessary to choose at least one caregiver.  The most common options include moving your parents into a residential senior facility or having a caregiver visit you parent’s home. Discuss preferences with the entire family and research everything together.  Once there is a consensus, visit a number of communities and/or conduct multiple interviews for possible caregiving candidates. Use reviews, websites, and personal references to ensure you make the right choice. Some senior care companies can provide background checks to guarantee safety.


Be Proactive, Do Your Research

Be thorough in your research and take extra time if needed. Quickly selecting a place or service is no good for anyone, as it will only cause confusion and frustration.  Though few facilities require a lease or contract, moving across communities can be stressful for everyone involved. Selecting the best caregiving option for your parents, you will certainly be able to rest easier knowing that your parents are being well taken care of even when you can’t be around.



Learn more about assisted living and other healthcare options at the main Assisted Living page or the main Caregiving page.

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About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.