Community  •   Published 21/07/2016  •  Updated 27/11/2023  •  By Stewart Smith

Caring for Elderly Parents from a Distance

Elderly man talking with his children on phone

It may come as no surprise that 12% of over-65s say they never spend time with their family. This is in stark contrast to younger groups, where 65% say they see their family regularly. Over half of the elderly parents say that their pets or television are their main source of company each day. Over 2.4 million elderly people in the UK say they have no one to turn to for help.

These statistics are evidence of a major shift in the UK’s demographics in recent decades.

It’s interesting to see how family dynamics have shifted significantly in the last 30 years. Increased property prices have often resulted children establishing roots far from their parents. Similarly, the popularity of university education is another contributing factor to it. A rise in life expectancy has also led to many elderly parents living on their own without family nearby.

Grown children of elderly parents are therefore presented with a real dilemma in their parents’ later years. They are aware their elderly parents may require assistance with day-to-day tasks. They often feel guilty because they live so far away.

Their parents’ health and wellbeing are also a major priority, yet very often the distance between them makes this extremely difficult. The feelings of one grown child who said, “I feel like I’m being split in half,” are no doubt echoed around the UK.

5 Practical Suggestions to Care for Elderly Parents From a Distance

seniors talking with their distant relatives

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honours.”-Tia Walker

For many, it’s just not possible to see their parents daily, or even weekly or monthly. However, there are various practical things that can be put in place to increase the contact between elderly parents and their grown children and to care for their day-to-day wellbeing. Here are just five suggestions:

      1. Use Skype, Zoom or Facetime with Elderly Parents and Grandparents

old parent talking with their children
All three of these apps are relatively simple to use and can be installed on any PC, tablet, or smartphone. This can drastically reduce the feelings of loneliness. Studies show that this could reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions.

These apps can also be used for video calls to remind them of the need to take medication or attend GP appointments.

      1. Emergency Contacts

elderly woman talking on phone
Both you and your parents should keep an emergency contact list handy. The list should include phone numbers for their doctor, nearby relatives, a caregiver, and a reputable taxi company. Of course, don’t forget to include your own!

      1. Get them for Personal Alarm for Careline Service

A simple personal alarm that’s connected to a 24/7 careline team ensures your elderly parents will receive immediate help even if you are at the other end of the world. You will be contacted in the event of a situation.

Caring for elderly parents is a complex issue. Every family has different circumstances to deal with. But making use of modern technology is one way to lessen their sense of loneliness and ensure they still feel part of the family.

      1. Security and Access

As your parents need help, more and more people will need access to their home. It’s a good idea for close family or neighbours to have spare keys, but it might not be safe for everyone to have them. Key safes are small metal boxes that are typically installed on an outside wall of your property. Your house keys are securely kept inside and can only be accessed by entering the right code combination on the safe’s front panel.

If your family or friends live more than 15 minutes away, or if you haven’t designated a keyholder contact, a key safe is an essential part of using our careline service. If you have a key safe installed, the emergency services can get into your house to help you if you need it.

      1. Make Their Environment as Safe as Possible

It is important to make sure that the elderly parents are safe, particularly if they are being cared for from a distance. It is very important to ensure that their environment is as safe as possible for them to live in. So, you always make sure that you have grab bars in the bathroom, kitchen safety, medical alerts and fall detection devices etc.

Thank you for reading this article. We hope you find it useful. Please check out our blog for more information like this.

About The Author

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Stewart Smith

Stewart has been involved with the telecare industry for over twenty years, developing lifeline solutions that grant peace of mind to elderly and vulnerable people and their loved ones. During this... Read More

View all posts by Stewart Smith