It may be challenging to provide care for a parent from a distance.
Many families no longer live near each other.
Jobs opportunities (or requirements) have taken adult children far from home.
Perhaps you are one of these adult children.
Now your parents are aging and need your help.
You are not sure how to provide care from another state or country.
According to a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article titled “When your parent is far away and you are trying to care for them,” you are not alone.
Many adult children struggle with how to provide care for their aging loved ones.
In addition to geography, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly complicates matters.
How can you make this responsibility easier?
The best way to provide care is to be prepared.
For starters, this means your parent should have an estate plan in place.
This estate plan should include incapacity planning with a power of attorney for financial decisions and one for health care.
These allow your parents to grant you authority to assist with managing their finances, access their medical information, and make health care decisions.
Knowing where their insurance policies, Social Security information, and Medicare cards are located can help you to provide care efficiently.
You also will need to know how to access their bank accounts, investments, and retirement accounts to help them pay for their care.
While getting the estate plan in place, you and your parents should discuss their finances to ensure you are acting according to their wishes.
Help them gather all important family records and estate planning documents, then store them in a safe location.
When you live far away, you may not be able to provide care in person.
It is important to work with your parent and your siblings (if any) to create a care plan and contingency plans in case of emergency.
You may help your parents secure help with shopping, medication administration, and various activities of daily living.
It also may be helpful to reach out to trusted neighbors, friends, and church members as a support system.
Technology like a smartphone or medical alert system can help you stay in contact and support your loved one.
Getting all of these plans made now may seem like a hassle to all involved.
However, I can confirm that planning now is much less painful than reacting in crisis mode later on.
Reference: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Sep. 28, 2020) “When your parent is far away and you are trying to care for them”