Call it the geographic crunch. An estimated 76 million “baby boomers” were born between 1946 and 1964. We are now reaching the age of their retirement and beginning to enter old age for them.
Many of these individuals will do very well taking care of themselves as they age. Some that can’t have to rely on others for assistance. Some of those others will be family and children.
So what happens if one of these family members lives miles away and the responsibility falls onto their shoulders? The following are just a few of the problems that long-distance caregivers will run into.
Travel expenses will mount. You will have to do things one on one, personally taking charge.
Job and Family sacrifice. These two areas will have to be placed on a back burner, while you handle things.
Deal with medical conditions, physical conditions that can be reduced with the help of medical aids and toilet sorround, and mental problems. These types of problems can really wear down an individual. Each one can present many challenges and obstacles to overcome. They can even be very expensive and break an individual’s bank account rather quickly.
Convincing older people to move into care assistance facilities. People love to be independent and free. Going for care assistance for them can be a rather tough thing to achieve. You have to convince them that it is what’s best for them.
Family squabbles over who is responsible for making decisions. there could be conflicts between siblings on what is best for their parents. This can cause tensions and stress among family members.
Trying to let parents live with just a few individuals looking out for them in certain areas. These people have to be trusted and you have to know that they won’t take advantage of your elderly parents.
Finding the right people to do these services can be exhausting. In smaller communities, it might not be even possible.
Arranging things over the phone from a distance can cause problems as well. Long-distance care by phone is unreliable. Eventually, you will run into problems that talking over a phone won’t be able to solve. With many agencies, you get a recording, instead of an actual voice.
Guilt; comes next. If you have any feelings or conscience at all, you will have to handle the guilt. Making decisions and running away. Where do you draw the line? After all, you have a family and a life as well. This one area presents the biggest problem of all. You have to deal with yourself.
Here are a few tips to help you through these times.
- Plan ahead. Don’t wait for a crisis to develop.
- Learn your parent’s network and write down the names of lawyers, doctors, accountants, ministers, and friends. Record their phone numbers.
- Know your parent’s health care insurance and long care, too.
- Ask your parents what type of care they need, if they become disabled.
- Help them write out a “Living Will” if they want one.
- Start to sort out options with your parents. Don’t do it all at once. Take your time and plan things out.
- Involve other family members. Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Set up a phone tree.
- Know your limits and seek help from others. Use ministers, doctors, and professionals.
- If you have a specific disease like Parkinson’s, contact local support groups.
- Plan to take charge of bills and accounts. If you don’t, at least monitor them.
- Finally; Think of this as an opportunity. A dress rehearsal for your own aging.