Living thousands or even hundreds of miles from your elderly parents can be like living on another planet. Independence is of primary importance with many older people. . So much so, they may not tell you over the telephone when something is wrong. Unless you are very good at detecting small changes in their voices or noticing a change in schedule and other deviations in their daily lives, parents can fool their family into believing all is well.
Why would they do that? Most say they just don't want the kids to worry. They know it is hard for the family member to drop everything to get to them and expensive to boot! But do they recognize the guilt their children experience at not being there for Mom and Dad? Could be another very good reason for not telling them. If they don't know, how can they feel guilty? Too bad it doesn't work that way.
I know myself that in the days when I was a long distance caregiver, the feeling of guilt because I could not be there got overwhelming at times. Part of that, too, was because I could not find services available for help at their home. Fortunately, times have changed and even in their small town, services have increased. The Administration on Aging is responsible for a website called Eldercare Locator. Eldercare Locator is a resource for state and local agencies that could be the answer to your prayers. The office can be reached by telephone as well at 800.677.1116.
I'll be discussing more on where to go for assistance in subsequent posts. In the meantime, be good to yourself. Guilt only wears you down.