Your elderly mother moved to Florida last year and you live in another state. The last few times you spoke to mom on the phone she’s seemed down in the dumps, and now it’s keeping you up at night.
Looking after an aging in place loved one is tough under any circumstances, but when you live far away it just makes the situation much harder. Toss in a household full of kids and a career, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a self-induced guilt trip and anxiety. Thankfully, there are several good ways to boost your loved one’s spirits from afar, starting with these.
Why is Mom Depressed?
Mom has always been an upbeat, cheerful person, so naturally her current emotional state has got you worried. But why is she depressed?
According to the National Institute on Aging, an elderly person might be battling depression for reasons like:
- Serious medical condition
- Loss of a spouse
- Financial difficulties
- Social isolation
- Vascular depression caused by heart disease
Share Your Concerns
If you suspect that your loved one is feeling depressed, you’ll need to find out why. Call them on the phone and respectfully ask what’s wrong. If they won’t tell you or simply don’t know, you’ll have to do a little detective work first. In any event, try to be as reassuring as possible and avoid saying anything that could make them feel worse.
Focus on What You Can Do
Based on what you’ve learned it’s time to develop a strategy to boost their spirits. Although you live far away newer technologies like the Internet have made long distance caregiving much easier than it used to be.
Here’s how to help:
Contact Their Physician
This will require getting permission from your loved one, but it is possible with a little creativity. Once that’s done, share your concerns with their physician and ask them for an honest assessment of your senior’s mental and physical health. Certain medications can cause or worsen depression, so that might be a good place to start.
Ask your senior to sign a HIPAA release form so that you can obtain copies of their medical records. After you’ve received those, a geriatric care manager can also review the information and make care recommendations.
Is it a Financial Problem?
If your loved one is feeling down because of financial problems, respectfully ask them to grant you access to their online banking and credit card account information. That will allow you to provide bill paying assistance and monitor their accounts for signs of financial fraud.
If loneliness is the problem call your loved one on the phone every day, even if it’s only briefly. What them through how to set up a video chat service like Skype or FaceTime so that you can speak “face-to-face”, and then teach them how to connect with other family members and friends on there.
Plan a Home Visit
Taking some much-needed time off from work to visit your loved one might do you both some good. If it’s possible, bring your spouse and kids along. Being physically in your senior’s home will give you the chance to assess their living conditions and health, stock up their fridge with nutritious foods and do some home repairs- all of which should put a smile on their face!
Hire Them a “Personal Assistant”
If it looks like your loved one could use some permanent help around the home, try convincing them to hire a “personal assistant” through a licensed home care agency. Most reputable agencies offer hourly rates and flexible scheduling options.
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
Caring for an aging in place senior from afar can be stressful. When you need a hand contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our compassionate caregivers will be happy to serve as an extended family in your loved one’s home so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. In addition to companionship care, our highly trained aides can perform in-home duties like personal care, medication reminders, transportation and light housework.
For your added convenience, all our family trusted home care services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To read some online reviews from the families we serve, or to schedule a FREE in-home consultation with a First In Care case manager now, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.