Creating a safety net for your elderly parents as an expat

Creating a safety net for your elderly parents as an expat

Creating a safety net for your elderly parents as an expat

With its ever-increasing numbers of migrants in search of a new life and career enhancement, the 21st century is bidding fair to become another century of diaspora.

Moving overseas for whatever reason can be exciting and challenging, but it all too often means the break-up of established family units in the home country. For expats with elderly parents unable or unwilling to join their offsprings overseas, there’s always the worry of unexpected illnesses, accidents and other problems of advancing age.
Fortunately, should the worst scenario become a reality, modern means of communication make it far easier for family members to stay in contact and judge whether a return is necessary.

Staying in touch is the click of a mouse away via social media and email, and Skype can be accessed on smartphones as well as laptops, allowing face to face contact and video chat in a way never possible before. For family members who can’t resist that perfect overseas job offer, it’s a positive step to plan ahead for regular visits back home. Travel is far less expensive and far more convenient than at any time in human history, with budgeting for and arranging a visit well in advance a good way to stave off anxiety over older parents as well as the odd pang of guilt at having left.

Also, although it’s not an event any expat wants to concentrate on, planning in advance for an immediate return in the case of a death in the family can help with the stress of bereavement. It’s also possible for soon-to-be-expats to set up a local support system amongst friends and local professionals such as the family doctor.

Neighbours are often happy to check on older parents, with their visits also helping to stave off parental feelings of abandonment and loneliness or depression. Before you leave, you can also encourage your elderly parents to stay busy by joining a local seniors’ club, volunteering or going to regular senior citizen exercise events.

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