According to a 2015 report by Jones Lang LaSalle India, India’s senior population is over 100 million! But, if your parents / grandparents are in India and you live in another country, there is a huge chance you might have certain fears about not being able to have their back as they age. Actually, distance does not matter! Here are 10 tips to care for ageing elders back home, even though you’re placed in different continents –
1. Counter Their Loneliness
Even if elders are physically fit, if they feel lonely, that can cause depression to kick in. And, depression can harm one’s immune system in the long-run. To counter feelings of isolation, help your loved ones back home find a new sense of purpose and meaning in life. Perhaps they can volunteer at a local NGO. Or, perhaps they can travel to places on their bucket list and embark on a new set of adventures they weren’t able to earlier. An empty mind is home to negative thoughts – so help plan out a packed routine for your ageing loved ones – and, make sure they still remain SOCIAL – so they never feel bored and lonely.
2. Ensure They Feel Safe
If your parents / grandparents do not have any kids/grandkids nearby and they are living all alone, they might feel vulnerable. Consider installing CCTV cameras you can monitor remotely, so all of you get peace of mind.
3. Gift Them Hobby Classes
Going hand-in-hand with Tip #1 above, it is essential to make sure your loved ones do not feel abandoned. A great way to accomplish this is by enrolling your parents/grandparents in hobby classes. If they have mobility issues, you can easily schedule at-home sessions, as well. Yoga. Dance. Fitness. Painting. Writing. Music. There are tons of options!
4. Build A Support System
Plan out a schedule for relatives, friends and neighbors to check-in with your loved ones throughout the week/month. And, make sure there are designated locals who serve as an emergency point of contact. Most importantly, try to set a proper routine to Skype/Zoom/Whatsapp Video Call with your loved ones so they know you’re there for them – in fact, this is the most important thing you can do; give your ageing loved ones the gift of time. Of course, it goes without saying that you should also try to go back home to visit them as and when possible. Or, have them visit you during certain months that work well for your schedule!
5. Simplify Processes
If you elders are comfortable using technology, then try to make life easier for them by setting up automatic bill payments so they do not have to keep track of so much paperwork. You should also make it a point to keep copies of key documents in case you need to help with certain tasks them remotely.
6. Ensure Financial Security
There’s a huge chance medical bills might start piling up as one ages. Make sure you have a transparent conversation with your elders to help them plan a secure financial future. Also, you should personally consider setting aside some savings for them in case of an emergency.
7. Hire A Personal Caregiver
If your elders have mobility issues or are going to be ill for a prolonged period of time, you can hire a professional caregiver to make sure they are taking their medicines on time, are eating properly and can go to the bathroom with ease. Make sure you triple-check references, though! You can be present during important discussions with both the caregiver and doctors through Skype/Zoom/Whatsapp Video calls, so you’re fully in the loop about what’s happening.
8. A Furry Companion
Gifting your loved one(s) a pet is a great way to make them feel a sense of purpose and companionship. And, most importantly, it motivates them to stay active – i.e. they’ll have to walk a dog outside and get some fresh air and sunshine!
9. Random Acts Of Kindness
Sometimes, it truly is the small things that count. Engage in kind gestures throughout the year so your loved ones know they are in your thoughts. For example, you can send them handwritten letters, flowers, gifts and more, especially when they least expect it!
10. Ensure They’re Taking Meds On Time
With an overwhelming number of seniors forgetting to take their medicines on time, medicine non-adherence is a growing problem these days. Sign your loved one up for a medicine subscription box like Kaleido so their medicines are authentic, organized, labeled, delivered to their doorstep and closely monitored for refills.
We hope these ten tips help you bridge the geographical distance with your ageing loved ones. The fact that you’re proactively looking for information to look after them is a wonderful step in the right direction!