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Caregiving from a Distance? Start Planning Now

Published February 11, 2014

Elderly parents often need the assistance of their adult children, and this can be difficult when one lives far from them. Even if one’s parents live in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, or have regular in-home caregivers, there may be times when their adult children will need to step in to make decisions, handle financial matters or help with care-giving. If you are separated geographically from your parents, it pays to plan ahead for how you will handle these matters.

First, it may be wise to consider whether geographic separation is in fact necessary. Depending on your and your parents’ preferences, it may be beneficial for them to move closer to you or another of their adult children. There may be times when it is extremely helpful for a close family member to be on hand to attend to matters personally, and frequent air travel can be expensive and inconvenient.

If circumstances necessitate long-distance care-giving, some matters are easier to handle at a distance than others. Financial matters are one thing that adult children can easily manage from afar, and this can be helpful to ensure that elders are not falling victim to scams, particularly if Alzheimer’s or other dementia is an issue. However, convincing a parent that they need help with financial matters is not always easy. The more you and your parents have an open dialogue about money, the better. This will help immensely with budgeting for whatever type of care may be needed.

Care-giving from a distance, if not ideal, is possible with careful planning.’

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