A moving checklist is always important when you’re about to relocate, but when you’re a primary caregiver, it’s even more critical. Moving away from elderly parents can bring with it hesitation, fear, and maybe a little guilt. How do you make the move and make sure that your parents stay safe and have everything they need?
Talk with Your Parents
The first thing on your list should be to talk with your parents. Most parents want their children to be happy and to live their lives, so while you might feel uncertain about moving away, they probably want you to do it without guilt or hesitation. Start a conversation about the benefits of the move and your excitement for it.
You could tell your parents that you don’t want to leave them behind, but that the way they’ve raised you helped foster a desire to venture out and pursue new opportunities. A new job, new life change, or just a new lease on life can be a great change for you. They’ll be happy to hear that their child is doing well in life.
If you feel guilty about moving, especially if you’ve been living with your parents, remember that you’re not alone. As many as 7 million people in the United States provide long-distance care for their senior parents. Caregiving always requires a balance of your work, home, and care duties, so while you’ll be farther away physically, you’ll still be involved.
Make Sure Your Parents Remain Safe
Putting a great caregiving team in place is a crucial item on the moving checklist to ensure that your parents’ needs are taken care of once you’re away. To help keep everyone organized, be sure to equip your parents’ care team with a list of resources and contact information before you relocate. Items on that list might include:
- Medications and pharmacy contact information
- Schedule of local caregiver(s) who will look in on your parents
- Grocery delivery places
- Emergency doctors and insurance claim numbers
- Community resources, such as Meals on Wheels or the local Visiting Nurse Association
- Bank account numbers and contacts
- Phone numbers of your parents’ friends
- Resources for taxi cabs and other transportation
Don’t forget to leave copies of the list with your parents and bring copies with you when you move, too. Your role as caregiver may change to that of organizer, which is just as important for keeping your parents healthy and safe. Make time to visit so that you can personally check in on your parents and see firsthand how they’re doing, but remember to watch for signs of burnout in yourself as well.
Providing Long-Distance Care
Your role as caregiver will change when you’re farther away from your parents, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still be as involved in their care as you were before. The National Institute on Aging suggests helping with finances or paying bills, providing emotional support and respite care for the local caregiver, and acting as the central coordinator for such items as insurance claims and medications.
Even from far away, you can stay in touch with your loved one and keep the rest of the family in the loop with conference calls and e-mails. Take comfort from knowing that after a move, you can still take great care of your parents while achieving balance in your life.