When the distance between you and an elderly parent is measured in plane tickets instead of miles, the stress can be hard to handle. Mom’s not ready to give up her independence, but you’re not able to shake the guilt and anxiety of being so far away. Every unanswered phone call, every storm report, and even the smallest earthquake are a cause for alarm – not to mention sleepless nights.
There are some things you can do to alleviate the worry when you can’t be there, though. First, schedule regular call times when you both agree to be available. Next, trade phone numbers with one or two trusted neighbors, so you’ll always be able to reach someone nearby. Also, make sure your aging relative has the necessary tools for safe and comfortable living, like an easy-to-dial phone and sturdy handrails in the bathroom.
If you haven’t done so already, bring in an in-home caregiver. Whether for a few hours or the entire day, you will sleep better knowing someone is checking on your family regularly, and they will appreciate the company. An in-home caregiver can provide as much or as little support as needed, so your loved one won’t feel as if they’ve given up their freedom, but rather that you’ve both gained a friend.
Originally posted 2010-06-28 13:57:34.