Helping aging parents from a distance 

Learn about the services and devices you can use to help your aging parents live safe, fulfilled lives.

Summary 

  • Many aging adults prefer to remain independent and “age-in-place” at home. 
     
  • Caring for parents from a distance includes helping them with nutritional, medical, social, and financial needs, and at times remotely. 
     
  • To assist parents from a distance, it is critical to assess their current living situation and create a complete care plan. 
     
  • LogicMark’s medical alert systems are the perfect way to help keep your elderly parents safe and secure 24/7. 

Living far away from your aging parents can be stressful. In fact, 23% of Americans say that the role of caregiving has made their own health worse. When you’re not close at hand to help your aging parents, you may feel powerless, especially when there is an emergency. 

It is also understandable that most adults over 65 would rather remain independent in their own homes than move to an assisted living facility. 

At LogicMark, we know that distance creates uncertainty when caring for your loved ones —which is why we’re here to help you navigate this area of your life and make it easier for you.  

In this article, we provide some insight into the role of a primary caregiver and outline a few ways you can look after your loved ones from a distance.
  

What you need to know about caregiving 

Caregiving is defined as “the activity of regularly looking after a child, an elderly parent or relative, or someone with a disability.” 

Ultimately, it’s all about giving your help, time, and attention to someone who needs support. For those of us without formal training, it can be difficult to know where to begin.  

Let’s take a closer look at some of the responsibilities of a caregiver.  

Assessing and understanding medical needs 

Knowing how your aging parent is coping mentally and physically is crucial.  

This information will help you plan and manage their daily and ongoing care. It can also help you make informed and potentially life-saving decisions, in the event of an emergency. It is important to understand your parents’ medical history and to be informed of their medical needs. 

Begin by learning who their healthcare providers are and how they schedule appointments and attend or set up an appointment to discuss the health status of your parents.  

This will help you stay informed about any medical conditions your parents develop and their doctors and staff will know who to contact in the event of an emergency.  

💡 Tip For Long Distance Caregivers: 

Find out what medications they are taking and if any adverse reactions are likely to occur. Plan to make sure they have access to assistance in an emergency and to avoid drug interactions or reactions. 

Providing emotional support and companionship 

Social isolation and feelings of loneliness in aging adults can lead to depression, among other health concerns. High blood pressure, heart disease, cognitive decline, and a weakened immune system may be exacerbated by feelings of loneliness. 

To avoid further health risks, use a mobile phone or tablet to connect with your parents every day and arrange for them to attend social activities in the area if they’re able. 

You should also provide them with the devices that they feel comfortable using and check in with them as often as possible.  

Even quick text messages during the day can help them feel more connected to you, in addition to longer video calls in the evenings or a time that works with your schedule.  


Emotional support


Ensuring financial security 

It’s not uncommon for many aging adults to experience a decline in mental capacity or cognitive ability.  

Because managing finances is linked to problem-solving, cognitive ability, and the capacity to reason, it is perfectly normal to begin struggling with these activities.  

While a decline in cognitive ability is normal, an advanced decline is known as dementia. Aging adults with dementia often have difficulties handling basic financial tasks, like paying their bills. 

Many are also at risk of making poor decisions that could potentially jeopardize their long-term financial well-being. 

Without being overbearing, it’s essential to have an idea of what your parents are spending on a month-to-month basis.  

Having open conversations about their finances may be challenging, but it can offer you peace of mind that their monthly bills are being paid. It gives parents the confidence to reach out to other family members for assistance with their finances.  

Monitoring meals and nutrition 

Some of the most common nutritional deficiencies in aging adults include: 
  

  • Vitamins D and B12 
  • Protein 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Fiber 
  • Water 

If your parents are over the age of 70, they may also need additional calcium to ensure they maintain bone mass and avoid muscle cramping.  

You can create shopping lists and have groceries delivered, as well as arrange for cooked meals to be delivered to your senior parents. This is one way to make sure that they are enjoying a balanced diet.  

You can also ask their doctor to make a list of the supplements they should be taking to ensure they’re getting the nutrients aging adults to need. 

Assisting with transportation and mobility 

While some aging adults maintain a higher activity level, others may live with health conditions that limit their mobility or cognition. This can make driving or using public transportation unsafe.  

Hiring a transportation service can offer you peace of mind, helping with things like driving your parents to appointments, social outings, and other activities like shopping. Depending on where they live, aging adults may have access to use on-demand transportation services. 

 

Ensuring a safe and clean home environment 

Aging adults may struggle with regular household chores and maintenance, and it is important that they live in a clean, safe environment. 

From making it easier to move around the home, to keeping bacterial and viral infections at bay, a clean, safe home is a must.  

One of the best things that adult children can do for their aging parents is to hire a professional house cleaning service. Additionally, it is important to think about home modifications to keep aging adults active. 

What Steps Can I Take to Help My Aging Parent from a Distance? 

Even if you live a distance away from your aging parents, you shouldn’t have to manage their well-being on your own. 

By putting the right measures in place, you will be able to get your parents the support they need to live happy and safe lives.

1. Assess their current living situation 

The first step to caring for your aging parents is knowing what care they need. Assess their lifestyle, living conditions, health, and financial requirements. The best way to do this is to spend a few days living with them and monitoring their daily habits. 

It’s also a good idea to create a checklist and identify areas where they’re independent, need help, or can’t perform the activity at all. 

Some daily activities to include on this checklist include:  

  • Bathing and dressing 
  • Eating and brushing their teeth 
  • Using the bathroom 
  • Going up and down the stairs 
  • Driving  
  • Shopping 
  • Taking medication 
  • Taking care of the home, including doing laundry 
  • Managing finances 

When you have a better idea of what help your aging parents need, you can make more informed decisions about where to focus support or care. 


active Aging


2. Create a care plan 

Once you understand your parents’ habits and lifestyles, you can start putting together a long-distance caregiving plan that includes the following areas:  

  • Nutrition: Set up a diet plan and ensure your parents have access to fresh foods to cook balanced meals. Or look into a home delivery service for some, or all, of their meals. 
  • Mobility: Take note of when and where your parent requires support to help them move around. They may need the assistance of a walker, wheelchair, or cane. 
  • Transportation: Create a plan for short- and long-distance commutes and line up any local resources they may need. 
  • Finances: Keep financial information in a secure location and stay up-to-date on their spending and money management. 
  • Safety: Install a home security system or look into a medical alert system to ensure your parents have access to help in the event of an emergency. 
  • Hygiene: Work with your parents to create a schedule for hygiene and personal care.  
     
  • Social: Ensure that there is a social plan in place for your elderly parents that includes activities and regular interactions with family and friends. 

3. Obtain financial and legal information 

As we mentioned earlier, your parents may get to an age where they may no longer be able to take care of their finances themselves.  

If you have access to their financial records and information, you will be in a better place to help them manage their day-to-day finances.  

The goal is for you to have enough up-to-date information at hand to be able to speak for your parents if they can no longer speak for themselves.  

Begin by compiling all of your parents’ important financial information. This may include their bank account details, insurance policies, and investments. Make sure that your parents place you on at least one of their banking accounts–to ensure you have access to pay bills if need be. 

As a long-distance caregiver, you will need to have their legal information on hand in the event of an emergency.  

This includes: 

  • Copies of all medical records 
  • Names and contact numbers of doctors 
  • A power of attorney for health care 
  • A power of attorney for asset management 
  • A living will 
  • Advance medical directives 
  • Bank account information 
  • Medical insurance information 

4. Confirm medical information 

Knowing your parents’ medical history helps you make more informed decisions during an emergency, and it can mobilize the right help where necessary.  

Make sure that you have their doctors’ contact details on hand and that you have a list of their medication or dosages. You will also need to know whether your parents have medical insurance and what it pays for. 

This will give you and you a better idea of which bills and prescription drugs will be covered when they need medical care.  

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), you will need to have written permission from your parents to obtain this information. 

5. Appoint a caregiver 

No matter how much preparation you have done, caring for your elderly parents from a distance can be challenging.  

Relying on another family member or friend who lives closer to your parents is an option, but you may not always be able to completely rely on their help.  

If you’re financially able, hiring a caregiver or geriatric care manager to help put your mind at ease can be a positive step in relieving caregiver responsibilities. 

This can be as little as a once-a-week arrangement or more, depending on how much care your loved ones need.  

Having two-way communication with another person who regularly sees your parents can make an enormous difference to your life and that of your parents.  

A caregiver can update you on your parents’ well-being and provide advice regarding what needs to be done to ensure that your loved ones are comfortable and safe.  


Aging Parents


What if my aging parents are completely alone? 

It’s still possible to keep them safe, secure, and happy—even from a distance. There may still be times when your parents are alone, this is where LogicMark comes in.  

Our medical alert systems are the perfect way to help keep your parents safe 24/7.  

For example, the Guardian Alert 911 Plus device is water-resistant and can connect to 911 operators with a single press of a button. 

You can also elect to have your loved one contact you first, and use 911 call-forwarding to alert emergency services to dispatch first responders. 

For those who mostly stay at home, we provide two landline-supported options: the Freedom Alert and Guardian Alert 911 pendants.  

We understand that caring for aging parents can be overwhelming, particularly from a distance.  When you have the right planning, and tools, in place, you can enjoy peace of mind in knowing that they have instant access to help.  

Let us help you secure that safety and peace of mind. Visit www.logicmark.com, email us at info@logicmark.com, or give us a call at (800) 519-2419.