Providing distance care for an aging loved one can be challenging. Even just living an hour away can make it tough to offer the level of support you would like to.
For family members that live in another province or several hours away, it can be a difficult decision as to what to do. You want to be able to help as much as you can, but you also have your own life and responsibilities to consider.
In most cases, the solution for distance care is reversed. Having your elderly parent or relative move in with you. This move presents its own set of challenges.
Many people don’t consider the option of moving closer to a loved one for additional support.
Things to Consider Before Making a Move
There are many factors to think about before moving houses to be closer to an ailing family member. It is a huge move to uproot your life for the benefit of another person.
The decision may come down to the level of care that is needed, and the viable alternatives available.
Some factors to consider, may include:
- What level and frequency of care is needed?
- What local support is available?
- What can be done in case of emergency?
- Is long term care required?
- How far is too far?
What level and frequency of care is required?
This may be the biggest factor in determining if a move is needed to support your aging loved one.
A substantial component is whether or not they are able to continue to lead an independent lifestyle while remaining at home.
The scenario can change significantly depending on health and mobility.
If your loved one is still able to get around on their own, while handling daily tasks and routines, as well as engaging in regular social activity, then your worries are minimal.
However, if there are considerable health issues that affect mobility and the capacity to take care of personal hygiene and housekeeping duties, then the situation may be more dire.
What local support is available?
Another thing to consider is the amount of local support available. Does your loved one have a network of friends and other relatives in the area? If so, it may be a good idea to reach out and see what kind of support they may be willing to offer.
This can be a big help, knowing there are people that your parent or relative can trust and count on when needed.
Regular checkups with a family doctor can also be helpful to stay on top of any health conditions that may arise.
Then there is also the issue of transportation. Is your loved one able to drive? What about a friend or family member that can drive them to handle errands and appointments? Or do they need to use public transit, and if so is that system safe and reliable?
What can be done in case of emergency?
Even from a distance, you can help your loved one prepare for an emergency. Making sure all medical records are easily accessible is good preparation.
You could help your loved pack a go bag with:
- Photo ID
- Health card and insurance details
- Copy of advance health care directives
- List of medications
- Change of clothes
Medical alert systems, that can be worn as a bracelet or around the neck, are very effective for seniors in case of emergency.
Is long term care required?
Long term care involves an assortment of services that handle a person’s medical, and non-medical needs, for managing chronic illness or disability. Long term care is typically for seniors that can no longer provide adequate care for themselves on a daily basis, and the situation looks to be ongoing.
This can involve your loved one moving to an assisted living facility, or enlisting the services of a live-in caregiver.
If long term care is needed, it may be more practical for your loved one to move rather than you.
How far is too far?
In the end, it all comes down to this basic question. Are you comfortable with the distance between you and your elderly loved one?
Is the distance short enough that you can at least make it there once a week?
This big decision will probably be based on a variety of factors that your will need to weigh out for your own particular situation.