top of page
  • Writer's pictureKathy L. McNair, Esq.

7 Tips for Caring For Aging Parents when you Live Far Away

Many adult children wonder what their aging parents may need and how can they can help provide it for them. You may constantly worry about your parents or other older loved ones, especially if you live far away from them. You can, however, take some simple steps to ensure your parents are safe as they age.

Tip No. 1: Recognize the Risks Older Adults Face

Knowing the risks seniors face can help you begin an action plan for your parents. It may be difficult for some older adults to complete tasks they could do before with ease, particularly if they live alone. Examples of those tasks can include:

  • Taking medication correctly and on time

  • Remembering things, keeping up conversation, or multitasking

  • Getting help in a medical emergency, such as a fall

  • Eating healthfully

  • Moving safely around their home

Being aware of these common concerns can be an important first step in doing everything you can to protect your parents as they age. In Massachusetts, MassHealth (Medicaid) will help to pay for care to help older adults needing assistance continue living at home. In order to qualify for this program, your parent must meet certain financial requirements.

Tip No. 2: Ensure Medication Compliance

If your parents have health conditions that require them to take medication regularly, you should take time to make sure they are adhering to their prescription instructions. It may be a good idea to routinely review the medications your parents take, the name of the medications, and any potential side effects. You may consider creating a medication schedule that you can both follow, so that you (or a home care provider) can check in and confirm your loved one is remembering to take medications when necessary.

Tip No. 3: Prepare for Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect more than 5 million adults aged 65 and older. Keep your parents safe by understanding their current cognitive abilities and any risks they may face for future decline. Consider setting up a routine for your parents’ day-to-day lives. This might include social engagement and spending time with you and other family members, which may become even more crucial if their cognitive health has deteriorated. In Massachusetts, MassHealth will often pay for day programs for those that meet the financial requirements.

Tip No. 4: Equip Aging Parents for Medical Emergencies

Older adults that live alone are vulnerable to falls and other medical emergencies. If you live out of state, you may have concerns about your parents being able to act quickly in ensuring they get emergency medical attention when they need it. To help your parents respond to emergencies, consider using a medical alert system. With a medical alert system, your parents will have emergency assistance at the push of a button. Many different companies offer this type of service. An online search can help you narrow it down.

Tip No. 5: Plan for Meals

Seniors, especially those that live with memory issues, may not eat regularly. Without adequate nutrition, older adults may fall ill, or any current condition may worsen. Many seniors across the United States are food insecure. Fortunately, there are certain Medicare Advantage grocery benefit programs as well as other free or inexpensive meal delivery services, such as Meals on Wheels, that deliver nutritious meals to seniors.

Tip No. 6: Prevent Household Injury

Household injury is a major risk for seniors, especially those who live alone. You should do a sweep of your parent’s home and remove all potential hazards, including unsecured electrical cords, household products and chemicals, or loose rugs. Fix broken handrails on staircases, install grab bars in bathtubs, and ensure there is adequate lighting in their home. Taking each of these steps, and any others you see fit, can help avoid a preventable injury.

Tip No. 7: Where are the legal documents you will need

At a minimum, your parents should have three legal documents in place, in case they are needed, including a will, health care proxy, and durable power of attorney. You should ask your parents if they have these documents and where they are located. If they don't have these documents, you should encourage your parent to contact an attorney to get started. If you are in the Boston, Massachusetts area, we may be able to help.

If your parent is open to the idea of living in a community, a continuing care retirement community, is often the safest option to provide for their needs and to ensure that they are not alone.

At Senior Solutions Attorneys at Law, located in Belmont, Massachusetts, we help people plan for their future, and when possible protect assets from the high cost of long term care. If you have a parent that lives far away, we are here to help your parent navigate the next steps. Please take the first step and contact us now to schedule a free consultation. You may contact us by calling our office at 617-489-5900 or schedule a brief free consultation by clicking on this link:

112 views0 comments


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Thanks for submitting!

Senior Solutions LLC

Attorneys at Law

bottom of page