For the last 10 years I have been living and working away from my country and for several reasons have only visited my parents and family around every one or two years...

Skype and the like are wonderful tools and we keep in touch as often as possible.

During the next days my parents are ending a 1-month visit and returning home, and now I have been feeling like crap... All the emotions of missing them, just horrified of the fact that every time I see them I just notice how old they have become... All the time that I am missing from being far away, and not knowing if this is the last time I am physically with them...

I am not sure if there are right or wrong choices in life, but how do the rest of you deal with this type of issues?

  • 3
    It's very very difficult. I don't have a good answer for this. Wish there were one. I'd use it myself.
    – ouflak
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 19:03
  • Yes its a very difficult and emotional question to answer honestly, glad you are proactively thinking of this. Is there a reason for them to be farther away from you, like can they migrate to living close to you or something? If you can add more context to that it would help.
    – pal4life
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 20:39

4 Answers 4


What you can do is to be prepared as possible.

  • Have enough funds to make an trip there for an emergency
  • Talk to your manager about the procedure for a trip on short notice (basically, how will the company react)
  • Have independent methods to check on or help your parents
  • Financial and/or medical power of attorney
  • Knowledge of their financial situation which could include access to a bank account, who is their attorney, information on other funds or property
  • Several people you trust who can check on them: sibling, cousin, neighbor, friend
  • Contact information for their doctors
  • What happens if one parent needs more care than the spouse can provide

I had most of this information when my father took a bad fall and ended up in a care home, but it was still very stressful.

  • Depending on the countries and citizenships involved keeping a current visa in your passport would also be a good thing. When her (my wife is foreign born but now a US citizen and her birth country doesn't allow dual citizenship) mother's health was failing that was the most painful thing--keeping current visas was effectively impossible. (Spend nearly a month getting a visa only good for three months.) Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 4:06

Reading your question there seems to be some degree of feeling guilty about seeing your family so seldom. I would like to point out that only in the last century has it been possible to travel easily. For many centuries when people moved to some other place separating families, communication was difficult.

Not seeing family for years was not unusual but rather common when people moved about.

Missing family or friends is natural. Feeling guilty about the separation is a different thing. If you are feeling guilty about the separation then counseling may be in order to understand why. You didn't mention whether you have discussed this with your parents however it would seem to be something to discuss.

You may be surprised to find out that while they miss you too, they are perfectly fine with the current situation.

Growing old is something everyone does however physical and mental condition as one ages is often a choice. Conditions such as dementia or cancer aside, exercising, eating properly, and being involved in a community makes a huge difference in how we age.

My mom just turned 80 and is living alone after my father's death several years ago. She has neighbors around her and is involved with volunteer work within her community. She takes walks and does yard work and gardening for exercise. She is involved in a program at a nearby university that has lunches and day trips. She has had a few medical problems that required hospitalization over the years but she is doing fine.

We stay in touch with telephone and I go to see her a few times a year and she visits me every once in a while.

And when we visit, we can see the difference in each other because we are both aging. And after a visit, we feel a bit of a loss at the separation. It is the same when I visit my daughter or she visits me.

My mother and I both hope that she will be able to maintain her lifestyle until the day she dies after a life well lived. My daughter and I both hope that I will be able to maintain my lifestyle until the day I die after a life well lived.


I've spent 27 of my 50 years away from family, living in Asia while my family is in France. As a kid, my mother kept repeating I am not raising kids to keep them around me until I die. You have a life and need to go and live it.

Of course that was the theory. In practice, the older my mother got, the more she missed me -- mostly she missed having people around to talk to. But somehow, having started my own family, I didn't seem to miss much from home. That was "helped" by the fact that our extended family wasn't very close either. In the end, I think we should rather look ahead, rather than look longingly behind, at the past. Help the next generation grow into good people.


I think as people grow older they become weak not just physically but emotionally too and Anxiety creeps in. At this stage, company of known people helps (if not their own kids) and one should keep them busy. I understand your feeling bro, in the same boat.
I feel your options are..

  • If they agree, They move in with you
  • Try to relocate them where close relatives are and have frequent communication with them via Skype or FaceTime
  • Move back to your country (I am considering this)

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