Everyone wants to do right by their parent. “They have looked after us growing up, now it it our turn to look after them as they grow old”…right??! But realistically, and especially in New Brunswick with an out-migration of our younger population, there just aren’t a lot of children of aging parents living in the same community anymore. Even when they do, they are often time pressed with work, kids, volunteer activities, commitments and …life! It isn’t always possible to be available to care and support for your aging parent or loved one. So how can you do it…and keep your sanity?
I suggest to long distance caregivers that they keep a “file” (paper or electronically) with details of their parent’s health and care, including medications, doctors/specialists, hospitalizations and appointments, phone numbers, Medicare numbers, supports and services in place and their contact information. Obviously, things can change quickly so keeping this up to date is important.
It’s important to have a “team” you (and they!) can trust and rely upon- do you have friends/relatives who still live near them? Are there volunteers who could visit them and provide you with some insight? Stay in touch with their doctor and anyone else providing care and support to them; the visiting nurse, a housekeeper or handyman.
Talk to your parents as often as you can and on a regular basis. Encourage them to call you and discuss day to day events. Make sure they have your numbers posted; for themselves and for others to reach you quickly and easily. Reassure them that you are only a call away and welcome calls from them- and not just when things are going wrong!
Like all caregivers, near and far, you have to respect yourself first and know your boundaries. How much can you realistically do…how much are you willing to do? Take care of yourself first, be kind to yourself, and don’t allow overwhelming feelings of guilt for not being able to be “back home” consume you.
Do your best and reach out for help. You don’t have to do this alone. I know it can be stressful, overwhelming and isolating. That is why I have developed the Peace of Mind Program. Have a look at it here and message me if you would like more information and prices for a package that would best suit your family and your budge.t.
For more support and information visit our website: www.health-at-home.ca or
our ICARE Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theicarecommunity/
Here for you!