There will be a time in our lives when we have to look after our ageing parents. But things become a bit more complicated if you are living overseas when the time comes. To prevent getting overwhelmed, you should conduct your research at once and get one or several steps ahead of the situation.
Our parents will age, and we must be ready for whatever results that might bring with it. Below are a few instructions for those who live thousands of miles away from their ageing parents.
Communication is essential
It does not matter what your parents’ age is, you should always be in connection with them. It even becomes more necessary if you live abroad and can’t afford to visit them very often. Devote time to them in your schedule and try to talk to them face to face at least once a week. Ask your kids (if you have any) to speak to their grandparents constantly on the phone or on social media.
You have to ensure that they know they are still very much a part of your life. Your ageing parents are at a stage in life where they require all the emotional support they can receive from you and your family. If you do not have any brothers or sisters, then you are all they’ve got.
If you haven’t left a sister or a brother behind, then it’s your responsibility to look after them as best as you can while you live overseas. One amazing tactic you can employ is to have as many friends and family members as possible who are inclined to help. They can deal with your ageing parents, help them with their routine tasks, take them to the doctor, cook meals for them, etc.
Schedule to have someone with a familiar appearance taking care of them. It is essential for anyone with ageing parents who still live back home to get updates about their health from someone other than themselves.
You can’t visit? Bring them over then!
It is understandable with your busy schedule and a family to look after that you can’t make lots of time to visit your parents. But they have lots of time, so it is better to fly them in. Before you do that though, you must make their paperwork ready and have a rough idea of how much time that will take. In general, you should be aware of all the steps that you must take to get them in the country you live in. Consider the requirements of a visa such as parent visa 143 if you are in Australia.
Evaluate your ageing parents’ needs
You must assess several different stages in their life to get an overall idea about their condition and needs. These stages are not the same for everyone, but the most usual ones are as follows:
- Mental state: The first significant factor you need to evaluate is their mental state. Check if they’re aware of their surroundings. Do they forget to do necessary daily tasks around the house? Names of friends and family members?
- Physical condition: evaluate their movability. Can they walk around the house or go shopping on their own conveniently?
- Financial stability: Check their bills and see if they’re grappling financially or not. Are they affording the house bills?
- Home-care: Check if their place is clean and tidy. If the house is not clean and tidy, then they can’t do it by themselves anymore.
- Self-care: check their sanitation. Do they take showers constantly? Can they do the laundry on time? Are they tidy enough for their age?
- Social activities: at their age, they can’t be as friendly as they used to be but still should sustain healthy social connections with family and friends.
- Diet and meal preparation: Check if their diet is healthy and can prepare their meals.
- Medical attention: Check if they have any medical requirements and how you can manage them. Make sure you know their doctors, for example. Have their contact information.
Have an emergency plan
Always be ready for the worst. Have a schedule for when their health is worsening, or something occurs that needs your presence. Save for your travelling costs beforehand, and have someone who lives closer to them and can reach them sooner than you. Make all their medical documents ready and any papers you might think is essential.
- Take copies of all the documentation
- Save all the emergency numbers (their doctor’s number, for example)
- Save enough money
- Talk to your boss about a probable emergency time off
While living overseas, technology can be your best friend to connect with friends and family back home. Social media apps such as WhatsApp and Skype are easy for making free video calls to talk to your ageing parents.
About half of social media users are between the age of 65 to 74. It is a good sign that the previous generation is getting along quickly with the new way of life. However, if your parents don’t know how to use social media, it is still probable to teach them or have someone beside them until they learn it.
Take it easy on yourself
The situation is already difficult between your life overseas and looking after your parents from afar; you must not scold yourself for not being near them. Instead, concentrate on the best job you can do to provide them with the care they need. Try to think positively and take pleasure in your life. Put aside the guilt of leaving them behind. We all have the right to select our path in life and wherever that path leads us. We don’t believe that it’s our flaw. So deal with the situations without any conscious or subconscious guilt.
The above strategies are the conditions you need to work on if you presently live overseas with ageing parents back home. These steps should work as instructions if you don’t know where to begin. You can examine the important ones more in your schedule and begin from there.
If you haven’t been communicating with them as much as you should, attempt to include that first. Gather as much information as probable about their health and their day-to-day life and activities. Is their social life healthy? Do they have a close group of friends and family they can spend their time with? In general, you should have a comprehensive map of their life in all of its facets.