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Long distance caring: how to make it work

long distance caring
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Written by Age Space

My parents have got very good at hiding what’s really going on at home.  It is reverse parenting as I feel like I’ve got a couple of teenagers on my hands who only communicate when it’s important, and rarely tell me anything of real value where their health and wellbeing is concerned.

We’re better at speaking on the phone these days which is good. For some reason the phone was really only used after 6pm and mostly to impart important information, not just chat. We used to speak once a week, mostly about the weather or the garden.  Now I call every other day just to check in (and of course try and check up).   I call them as they really only call me when it’s a real emergency, and usually only call once the emergency has passed……

I’m not sure how to try and care from a distance.  And I’m definitely not doing it very well.  I think perhaps some of it is blindingly obvious and I just need to get on with it.  These are the things I’m going to try and do:

  • See, just see, if I can get Mum and Dad on skype.  As someone who always thought that the phone without a screen was invented for a very good reason, I’m no big fan of skype, but  it would be great to physically see Mum and Dad every week.
  • Go home more often and for longer periods of time.  I’ve realised that its quite easy for them to put on a good show for a night, but slightly more difficult if I can be there for at least 48 hours. I will also try to go home in the middle of the week every now and again;
  • Try and co-ordinate better with my brother:  both in terms of calls home, and visits.  We tend to trip up over ourselves and arrive the same weekend, or the weekend after eachother.  Could do better.
  • Get to know their neighbours and friends better:  this feels a bit difficult, as I don’t want anyone to “spy” on Mum and Dad, but more a line of communication just in case;
  • Maybe go to the Doctor’s with them every now and again.  I expect this will be very difficult to achieve, but I’ll certainly give it a go.
  • Have more conversations with them about the difficult subjects such as more help at home;  I’ve avoided this one so far, but I think that I can’t put it off for much longer.

I’m sure there are other things I should be thinking about and doing.  But, at least its a start.   At least I don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ve done their homework.

Are you struggling with care from a distance? Have you got some good ideas – if so – please join the Age Space forum and share your experience.

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Age Space