What to Do When a Parent’s Health Fails and You’re Away from Home?

You immigrated to a developed country for work. Over the years you built a strong career and a good life in a new place. Your children became citizens of a developed nation at birth. All seems well – except, your parents back home are in their twilight years. One day you get unpleasant news from back home – a parent is not keeping well. You knew it was bound to happen but it still is a dilemma. You cannot simply give up your productive and fulfilling life abroad to go back home and care for your parents. Nor can you leave your progenitors to fend for themselves. Although it is no easy call, this article aims to help you explore and weigh your options.



It is possible to delay the onset of old age and physical infirmity through a good diet, regular exercise and other features of a healthy lifestyle. Many seniors plan and succeed in staying active and independent till the day they fall asleep for good. You can maintain a healthy lifestyle and set an example for your parents to follow. Even so, it is natural for people to age and face medical issues. To cushion the blow you can rely on medical insurance, which needs to be planned many years in advance. As a prudent and caring progeny you should setup medical insurance with adequate cover for your parents (and yourself) as soon as you can.



When the health of a parent degrades back home the first step for you would be to appraise the situation fully. Find out what condition your parent is suffering from and exactly how severe it is. Communicate with the doctors, learn to decipher your parent’s medical reports and find out if alternative ways of treating the condition exist. There have been astonishing advances in medical science in the past few years and a number of alternative medicine ideologies exist. Face facts. Get a realistic assessment (and several second opinions) about whether the condition is curable. If the condition is likely to exacerbate, find out what factors influence it and what the time frame is. Only when you have all the facts can you move onto addressing your dilemma.



Even though you may be in a position to call the shots, your parents will appreciate it a lot if you involve them in the process of making decisions regarding their care and treatment. Despite declining physical health most seniors are surprisingly lucid in their thought process. Schedule a call at least as frequently as every weekend to discuss health issues and other news in detail. Get your kids involved on the calls. These gestures can go a long way in preventing the depressive thoughts that elderly people sometimes face when isolated. Communicate frequently and clearly. It is the surest way to convey that you care. Make your parents feel that they are always on your mind and very much a part of your life.


Give support

Through years of working in a developed economy the one thing you undoubtedly should have built through your efforts is financial security. You may not be able to get away from work for long but you can certainly ensure that all resources are made available for your parents to have the best possible treatment and a comfortable life. Arrange for a caregiver to be available to your parents according to their needs, which may range from a once-a-week visit to fulltime 24/7 assistance. A caregiver could be a younger relative, a family friend or hired help. The caregiver is your proxy and you must ensure that the person in this role remains motivated and proactive. He or she may also be the one you would need to send money to if your parents need financial assistance but cannot go pick up the money themselves. Arrange for doctors to regularly check up on your parents and send you reports. If necessary move your parents to a hospital or another similar facility where they would be appropriately cared for.



It is well known that the cost of healthcare in some developed nations can be prohibitive. Moreover, there may be resistance from your parents about moving abroad to an unfamiliar place. However, getting them to move abroad to stay with you may be the best possible way to care for them. In their twilight years when few friends remain and faculties fade your parents are more likely to be convinced by your reasoning for the move. The alternative for you could be the heart-rending experience of watching the slow decline of a beloved parent from afar.


Care for yourself

Things may not turn out perfect despite your best efforts. Do your due diligence and avoid stressing about the consequences. There are others who depend on you and will need you for a long time to come. Be mindful of your own health and happiness throughout the journey. One day the inevitable will happen and you must be mentally prepared for it. Move on with your life, knowing that you did your best.

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