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There’s no doubt — trying to take care of aging parents from a distance is hard. Whether you live an hour away or are caregiving for a parent in a different state, stress and guilt take an emotional toll.

You can’t be there in person all the time, so what can you do?

1. What You Can Do

It’s ok that you can’t do everything for your parent. What are your strengths? Are you good with money? Once you know what you can do, you’ll be able to make a plan that covers the gaps.

2.Explore Different Living Arrangements

Other families find what makes the most sense to have the parents move closer to the adult children. If moving is simply out of the question, hiring in-home care — either full-time or part-time to provide some support. Senior living communities are an option that can provide 24/7 access to health care, assistance with activities of daily living, enriching programs and activities, and a built-in social network that helps combat loneliness.

3. Have a Family Meeting

Whether it’s in person, on the phone, or via Skype or FaceTime, gather the family together to get everyone on the same page. You all need to understand what the issues are and what your parent wants.

4. Plan Visits

It’s important that you actually get to see your loved one from time to time. Be sure to spend quality time with your loved one.

5. Have an Emergency Plan

If your loved one has an accident or other emergency, you need to have a plan in place so you can get there on short notice. Set up a support system of people who can step in for you while you’re gone, whether it’s helping with the kids, the pets or your job.

 6. Stay Connected

Some families schedule conference calls with doctors or senior living community staff to get up-to-date information about their parent’s health. If you have a neighbor who regularly checks on your parent, get updates from them. Keep in touch. Phone calls and emails are a simple way to reach out, and they go a long way toward keeping your relationship strong.

 With some strategic planning and a team effort, you can make sure your loved one is getting the assistance they need. Watch to learn more.

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