Keeping Your Elderly Parent Safe When You Live Far Away

Dec.22.2014

Caring for elderly parents is not an easy task, and this can be even more challenging when you don't live in the same city or even the same state. However, you can still be an active participant in your loved one's care. If you are concerned about keeping your parent safe, consider implementing some of the following ideas.

Have a Check-in Plan
One of your biggest fears is likely thinking of your parent falling or getting sick when no one is there to help them. You might not be able to prevent this from happening, but you can make sure that someone is aware and available to help if the unexpected occurs.
It sounds simple, but one of the best things you can do for your elderly parent is to have a basic check-in plan. If your dad knows that you will be calling him every night at 8:00 PM, you'll know to seek further assistance if he doesn't answer his phone after you try several times during your allotted time slot.
If your schedule doesn't allow you to check in with your parent at the same time every day, ask another family member or even one of your parent's neighbors to serve as the contact person. The time or way you contact them isn't important, but the fact that someone will be checking in on a daily basis is.

Use a Medical Alert System
A medical alert system is a must when your elderly parent is living alone. There are many different products and services available, so it's important to find the best medical alert system for your parent's specific needs.
If you're not sure where to start your search, the Internet makes it easy to research your options. Visit company webpages to get basic information about features and services, and read reviews from other customers to get more candid feedback.
For instance, some monitors have an automatic fall detection feature that calls for help even if your parent isn't able to push the button themselves. It's important to choose a system that offers 24 hour monitoring. You want to be sure that help will be available quickly in case of an emergency.

Find Out What Is Really Needed
When you're not there to see your mom in her every day life, it can be a little challenging to know what she really needs, but this doesn't mean the task is impossible. Start by simply asking her for honest feedback. If you're not able to get an answer, you can try asking her neighbors or medical care providers what would be most helpful.
For instance, you might be considering hiring a service to drive her to and from errands and appointments when her neighbor is already happy to do this. On the other hand, cooking has become more difficult because of her arthritis, so having a meal delivery service bring healthy, home-cooked meals every week would be a welcome addition.

Caring for an elderly parent isn't always easy, but you can make your loved one feel safe and secure by having specific plans in place. You and your parent will both enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're there to love and support one another.