A couple of years ago, I got an overseas opportunity with my dream company. Initially, I was very happy with the offer – everything looked perfect. The job, the new salary and even the accommodation they were providing. Then it struck me – what about my eldery parents?
I tried convincing them with all the power I had in me, to come with me. My dad agreed for a minute, but my mom outright refused. She said her home was here and she wouldn’t leave it. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My parents themselves had put up a lot of money in educating me and now it was my turn to climb the socioeconomic ladder for them. I devised a plan to take care of both my parents – from 10,000 miles away.
From a high level, the plan is simple – focus on preventive care, ongoing care, emergency support and then healing care, exactly in that order.
You will have to cover the house with alarms and cameras. All of these devices will have to be connected to some Wi-Fi network along with a software interface that allows me to monitor them whenever I want to. I also gifted my mom and dad the entire range of GOQII gear and app. Now, all of us can monitor their health every single day. Although my mom was not used to wearing gear around her wrist that reminded her she had to finish her fitness goals for the day; but as she started witnessing the benefits, she grew fond of it. And guess what – my dad became a big fan of the entire Karma points system that gamifies daily exercising.
The idea about gamifying was more beneficial than it may seem. The fitness band and other gadgets that I gifted them, helped me track the heart rates and blood pressure at regular intervals. This way, I had the data required to monitor every abnormality or deviation in their fitness levels. This was a crucial part of the preventive care part of the plan.
In addition to this, I hired a team of home nurses, house helps physiotherapists and pharmacy home delivery guys. This way, everything from taking their sugar tests to getting their medicines was outsourced to someone. I told everyone that they had to do their job without fail, every single day. I even installed a biometric sensor in the house to record everyone’s attendance. This was to ensure that the ongoing care is taken care of, no matter what.
Before leaving, I went to the nearest hospital from my parents’ house and submitted a file with their entire medical histories. I informed the hospital that they are living nearby. This way, the hospital is always on standby, in case something goes unfortunately wrong.
I knew, even after all these measures, there were chances something might go wrong. So, I asked the watchmen to keep a check on them. My dad goes for a walk in the morning and gets milk for everyone in the house. If he does not go for a walk even for a day, the watchman is right up at our place to check on them. I have also told the neighbours to keep a check on them.
All of this will help you prepare for the next step – installing emergency support.
One of the biggest reliefs is our family doctor, who stays hardly a mile away from my parents’ place. The doctor has been seeing our family for decades now and is aware of all the medical developments in our family – from malaria that my mom had years ago, to the chronic back pain that my dad still has. He too visits mom and dad every fortnight and keeps a check on their regular test reports.
The doctor’s accessibility ensured that specialized medical care was available at the distance of a call. This was a crucial part of ensuring that someone was always available in case of an emergency.
These days, there are companies that provided a series of lab tests at the comfort of your home. This allows you to have the tests regularly at your own convenience. I would really recommend you to take up an annual subscription covering all the tests your parents are prescribed to take.
These tests are not a part of the healing that your parents may require. But they help you understand that the medicines, as well as the treatment, is working. You cannot conduct all lab tests at home using DIY gadgets. This is why, when it comes to specialized tests, you should take professional help.
I personally prefer using a hybrid plan – the fitness band alerts us all with the daily updates on my parents’ blood pressure and heart rate; while regular lab tests help us look deeper into every other aspect of their health.
No. Nothing can ever be enough. I still feel like just taking the next flight and landing there to see them. I would want to bring them here with me, but I will never challenge their wishes. What I can do is, give them a healthy and safe environment to lead a comfortable life. This entire system of checks and interventions helps me sleep at night. Some people, including my parents, have told me that maybe this is a bit too much. Maybe, it is for them. Maybe, it infringes on their privacy sometimes. But I am ready to take all of those chances to ensure that when the time comes, there is always someone to take care of them.1