Caring for a loved one with dementia when you’re living in a different country can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to support them from afar.
By Tanya Lim
“My mother has been showing early signs of dementia and was recently diagnosed. She has always been very independent, and that has allowed me to move away from home to pursue opportunities in a different country. Mum is still very much independent for now, and right now, I am figuring out how I can still love and care for her from a distance.”
You might be living away from a loved one due to career or family commitments. When a loved one requires more care, we might find ourselves caught in the dilemma of whether to stay or return home. Depending on the care needs, it could still be possible to play your part as a carer from a different country. Caring for a loved one with dementia when you’re living in a different country can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to support them from afar:
Stay in touch
Regular communication can help you stay connected with your loved one and monitor their well-being. Try to schedule regular phone calls, video chats, or emails to check in and offer emotional support. Get help from local resources: Look into local support groups, home care services, and medical professionals in your loved one’s area. They may be able to offer practical help and support to your loved one.
Consider hiring a caregiver
Depending on your loved one’s needs and financial resources, you may want to consider hiring a professional caregiver to help with daily tasks, such as bathing, meal preparation, and medication management.
Plan visits when possible
If you’re able to travel to see your loved one, try to plan visits in advance and coordinate with local resources to ensure your loved one is getting the support they need when you’re not there.
Make legal and financial arrangements
If you haven’t already, consider setting up legal and financial arrangements for your loved one, such as power of attorney, wills, and estate planning. This can help ensure that their needs are met, and their assets are protected.
Revisiting plans and care needs every 3 to 6 months
Depending on how your loved one’s condition is progressing, having a conversation to check in on his or her care needs will help you assess if it is time to return home. Don’t be afraid to have open discussions with your family on what they need from you to play your part and fulfil your role.
Remember to take care of yourself as well. Caring for a loved one with dementia, even when you are away from home, can be emotionally and physically draining, so make sure you have a support system in place and find ways to decompress when needed