--------------------------Reaching out to help your elderly parent from afar
Assisting an aging parent across the miles can be overwhelming. You can feel like things are out of control because you can’t be there to help in person. It can be even more challenging if you have concerns about addiction or have a need to heal a rift. Here are ways to give terrific long-distance support to your loved one.
Use technology. According to the experts at Today, technology offers an array of great options for assisting your parent from afar.
- Websites. Use websites such as Google Chat, FaceTime or Skype to communicate with your loved one. You can see and hear your parent at certain times every day, like checking in each morning or saying goodnight at bedtime.
Some websites are especially designed for supporting your aging senior. Try Lotsahelpinghands for electronic scheduling so that family and friends can sign up for delivering meals, driving to medical appointments, or taking turns caregiving.
The National Center on Caregiving recently launched FCA CareJourney. This is an online service offering support, resources, and good information for those caring for adults with chronic cognitive or health concerns such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
- Health monitors. Some experts recommend employing health monitors to help tend to your parent. Modern versions of traditional medical equipment such as blood pressure, heart rate and glucose meters have internet capabilities. Some new pill dispensers give visual or auditory signals when it’s time to take medications and notify you via phone, email and text when a dose is missed. Activity trackers can be attached to clothing, worn on a wrist, or carried in a pocket.
- Emergency response and personal safety devices. These options employ GPS tracking. They monitor the location of your senior parent and offer two-way communication. Some can tell if your parent has fallen, and there are options that sense if your loved one has wandered outside of normal boundaries. Some of these look like a pendant or wrist watch, and some are insoles for shoes.
When addiction is a worry. Some studies show there is a growing concern for addiction among seniors. The impact of drug and alcohol abuse is greater for the elderly, due to risk of injury and dangerous interaction with medications. The effects of alcohol and drugs is also more debilitating for seniors. Yet statistics show that over 2.5 million older adults struggle with a drug or alcohol problem. Here are some signs your parent may have an addiction:
- Drinking alone
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Drinking despite warning labels on medications
- Ritual drinking before, with or after dinner
- Immediate and frequent use of sedatives
- Chronic, flimsy health complaints
- Empty beer or liquor bottles, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol on breath, changes in personal appearance
- Changes in attitude and cognitive ability, such as depression, confusion, memory loss or hostility
When the distance between you is more than physical. Oftentimes relationships with parents are strained. It’s no secret that families often suffer with dysfunctional issues. It’s possible your parent’s addiction isn’t new and your relationship is damaged as a result. Regardless of how things became broken, here is advice from experts for mending fences with your parent.
- Focus on fixing issues, not blaming or attacking.
- Take your time and don’t try to rush healing.
- Take inventory of your failings and where you contributed to issues.
- Establish boundaries for how the relationship will function now.
- Recognize limits and don’t try things that make you uncomfortable.
- Be realistic and know that no relationship is perfect.
- Be honest with your feelings.
Reach your parent from afar. Helping your parent from a distance is challenging. Using technology can bridge the gap. You may be worried your parent suffers with addiction or need to heal an injured relationship. Using the advice offered here will help you support your parent across the miles.
On her website Marie Villeza, Owner of Elder Impact states:
Our mission is to empower seniors against ageism by making handy the information they need to keep controlling their own lives. Our team works to incorporate market research with senior needs. We want technology to be accessible, we want social calendars to be bustling, and we want everyone to have access to the medical attention and other resources they need. We want younger generations to see that they can help dismantle ageism. We don’t want there to be any victims. We want to impact the elderly so that they can keep impacting the world.
For more info. visit: http://elderimpact.org/