It can be really difficult when you live in a different country to your family. You can’t just drop in and pay them a visit when you want to, you can’t just go and deliver your famous chicken soup when they are unwell, or nip to the grocery store if they are off their feet. You are separated by hundreds, if not thousands of miles, and that can be hard when looking after elderly relatives.
Throw in a global pandemic that all but halts global travel, and well, it becomes a lot more difficult. Sure, we have all embraced FaceTime and Zoom meetings, but that is no substitute for your annual trip to stay with them. It can also be worrying if they become ill, and you are not able to go to help them.
While we sadly can’t wave a magic wand and make it okay for you to hop on a plane or boat and go to see them, we can give you some suggestions of how to make it a little easier on the both of you. Read on to find out more.
Ensure they are financially secure
If you are in a position to, helping financially is one way to ease the burden. Of course, it is not possible for everyone to send money but sometimes, a bit of extra funding can pay for someone to go and do the shopping, maintain the garden or provide a bit of extra personal care. Many people worry about the safety of sending money overseas, but it really is safer than ever. Whether you want to send money to indonesia or to Australia, it is more than possible to do it securely and quickly.
Have a plan in place
Do not wait until it becomes a reality, but have a plan in place for what you will do if or when your relative becomes ill or incapicitated. No one wants to have to think about it, but if you wait until you need to before deciding what to do, you can end up rushing and making mistakes. Talk to your relatives now about what they would want to happen to their home, any pets, their treatment or care options and involve them in the planning. Look at what support is available in the country or the region they live in – is there state provided support or is it something that you would need to organize on their behalf? Having these details ready just in case is always a good idea.
Check in regularly
When you live within visiting distance, you can pop in if something doesn’t feel right or you can;t get in touch, but you can’t do that quite as easily overseas. Have a regular check in time – maybe a phone call at the same time twice a week, and agree that if they haven’t already told you in advance that they can;tt speak, and they don’t’ answer within a certain amount of time, you will move onto the next stage of your plan – getting someone to check in on them.