They say “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” but it certainly doesn’t make it easy to deal with missing your loved ones. Especially for seniors who live alone, they may be at a higher risk for depression if their loved ones live too far away to spend time with them. Do you live hundreds of miles away from mom and dad, only travelling to their home on rare occasions? Do you work too often to make regular visits? Has the COVID-19 pandemic made it dangerous for you to spend quality time with your aging parents? No matter what your situation is, we’re here to help. Here are some helpful solutions for staying connected with your long-distance parent!
Send Them Snail Mail
A handwritten letter or note cheers up many seniors! Especially when it comes from the children or grandchildren they love, that letter is more than a message. It’s also a keepsake they can post on their fridge or put on their bedside table. If you write to your long-distance parent, make the letter personal and memorable! Ask them how their pets are doing, tell them about something funny that happened at work or school, and remind them of a favorite memory with them. The more detail you put into the letter, the more they will feel connected to you and what is happening in your life.
Teach Them How To Video Call
Many seniors feel intimidated by video calling, but it’s still worth a try with your long-distance parent. Speaking face-to-face makes the connection and conversation feel more personal. You can even show your parent that new decoration or pet in your home! Most seniors will need help to get started with video calling, so walk them through it in a letter or over the phone. You can also ask one of their neighbors or caregivers to assist them. Be patient and helpful, because this technology is likely a new adventure for them! For more information about how you can get your elderly parents set up with video calling, check out this how-to article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Send Them Special Gifts
A personalized gift shows that you care and that you know them well. Send them something with sentimental or practical value. That way, every time they look at it or use it around their home, they’ll think of you!
For more on creative gifts that you can give to your long-distance parent, check out our blog: Showing Love to Seniors
Make Your Visits Meaningful
If you have time to visit your aging loved one, remember that time together is rare and cherished! Focus less on chores and bills and more on spending quality time with them. Are there activities that they enjoy doing with you? Is there a recipe you’ve been wanting to try? Take time to make your visits special and limit the stress you place on your parents’ care and finances. You can help them with most of those things over the internet or on the phone!
For tips on fun activities you can do with your aging parent, check out our blog: Fun Summer Activities for Seniors
Find New Ways To Keep Tabs on Their Health and Safety
It can be difficult to notice when your parent’s health or habits change if you don’t see them regularly, but there are several simple ways to keep track of their changing needs! Here are some of our top tips:
- Assist them in finding and paying for home renovations, such as a walk-in bathtub
- Ask a neighbor or caregiver to be their local emergency contact
- Install a personal emergency response system in their home
- Work with a home care agency that can meet their daily needs
- Build relationships with their doctors and healthcare professionals
- Call and listen for signs of frustration in their life
- Communicate about how you can work together on their finances (Mid Life Melody)
For more information about how you can help your parents feel safe and secure in their own homes, check out our blog: 7 Tips for Securing Senior Independence
At the end of the day, your long-distance parents deserve to keep the parent-child relationship they have always had with you. Especially if you live far away, it feels terrible when your limited quality time focuses only on their care and safety and not on building up your relationship. If you need relief and miss your old relationship with them, home care can help! Our caregivers are trained to help with activities of daily living and household tasks that have become a burden. Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about how we can build a bridge of care between you and your parent!