Monday 17 April 2023

Remotely Helping Your Aging Parents


Image Credit: Pexels

{This is a collaborative post}

The sandwich generation. It's not a term I'd heard of until recently but it seems that turning 50 and most of my friends being in their late 40s and 50s that many of us are starting to realise we are these middle-aged people who find ourselves sandwiched between caring for both our children and our aging parents. 

I grew up with Maggie Thatcher as the Prime Minster and received the message that women could do and have everything before becoming a mother (if they so wished) and thus didn't have my first child until I was 30. Most of my friends waited to have their children until they were in their 30s and maybe even 40s too. Now, here I am on the cusp of 50 with a son who is about to turn 20 and is away at university, but still requiring practical, emotional, and financial support, as well as twin fifteen-year-olds living at home and going through the angst of GCSEs. 

I'm also wondering how I can best support my parents who are in their mid to late 70s and live 80 miles away. I'd love to be able to be there for my parents on a day-to-day basis. When they need a lift to a hospital appointment or they can't do their daily activities as they are unwell, I'd love to pop by and cook a hearty meal, clean the house, or offer the necessary lift, but three children, a trip on the M25 and a demanding job do not lend themselves to that kind of regular help.

So, I'm turning my thoughts to what kind of help I can remotely offer to my parents so they still feel loved and supported but I'm not torn in all kinds of impractical directions. 

1.  Talk to them Regularly

I may not be able to be there in their house each week but I can certainly be a regular presence in their life. A simple phone conversation or maybe FaceTime or a Zoom call could make the world of difference when they are feeling lonely, down, or overwhelmed.  Or, to be honest, they don't need to be feeling any of those things, it is great to talk regularly even when everything is ticking over and going well. That regular time together is the way 

2. Help them get their House Adapted

If you find that mobility is becoming an issue for your parents then it might be time to help them arrange for some home adaptions that allow them to stay in the home they love and to still use it fully. There are lots of great adaptions that can take place relatively easily, like installing handrails, a stairlift, or changing to a walk-in bath/ shower. Or if they have space and it is necessary you can even investigate putting a home lift in for them. Age Co Mobility is a reputable supplier of these kinds of mobility products and with great customer service from Hanicare, you'll be sure that your parents are being looked after. 

3. Orangise their Shopping and Prescriptions

Even if you can't be present yourself you can help with some practicalities like getting the weekly shop ordered and delivered, or liaising with their GP and the local pharmacy to make sure that repeat prescriptions are always put in on time and get delivered to their house.

4. Keep in Contact with their Neighbours

My parent's neighbours are still the same people they were when I was a child and this means I know and trust them. As they are now elderly themselves they can't necessarily do all the practical jobs anymore but they can certainly keep an eye to check they have seen my parents regularly, and then my parents can do the same with them. 

If an emergency occurs it is useful for a neighbour to have a key to the house so they can let any of the emergency services in and also call me to raise the alarm. 

5.  Get in touch with useful Charities

There are plenty of local charities across the country that specialise in helping people into their older years. Whatever help your parents need, you may be able to organise this through a local charity. There will be places that can recommend trusted tradespeople and home helpers, ones that offer befriending services, others that can organise cooked meal delivery and so much more. It is definitely worth doing a Google search and joining the FaceBook group for your parent's town or village to ask for recommendations from local people. 

I hope you can see that even though you might be quite some distance from your parents you can still be a positive presence in their life and help them on an almost daily basis.