You live in Florida, you have a brother in Texas, a sister in Colorado, and senior parents in New Jersey. Finding a senior living community or home care help for Mom and Dad definitely requires some coordination.
Thankfully, senior living search sites and video conference tools like Skype allow you to interact from wherever you are. Though there may come a time when one sibling must move closer to Mom and Dad (or have them move closer to one of you), consider these “how to” tips for keeping everyone engaged in the decision-making process, aware of changes in health status, and managing care in the meantime:
1. Have at least one in-person family meeting. Coordinate a visit to your parents so you can all sit down together, discuss the options, and determine a short- and long-term plan.
2. Create a check-in schedule. Make sure someone is calling on a daily or at least weekly basis to see how Mom and Dad are doing. If your parents have a computer, tablet, or smart phone, Skype or FaceTime is a great way to “see” how they’re really doing, not just hear a “we’re fine.”
3. Delegate tasks. Perhaps your brother enjoys research: if so, assign him the task of searching online for senior living communities or home care agencies in your parent’s hometown. Have your sister manage their prescription refills and doctor appointments by phone/web. Find a way for everyone to be involved.
Just because you live in another state doesn’t mean you can’t help your aging parents or relatives. Read our post, Long-Distance Caregivers Make More Senior Care Decisions, to learn more about the role that long-distance caregivers can play.