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Your Guide to Geriatric Care Management As a Long Distance Caregiver

Despite geographic separation, adult children can remain involved with caring for aging parents.

Living at a distance from elderly loved ones can make home care needs easier to miss. In fact, many adult children with older parents don’t realize that the couple needs assistance until they return home for a visit or spend prolonged time together over the holidays. If you are a family caregiver who lives far apart from your older loved ones, it is important to have a plan in place for crises and care when the need arises. 

The geriatric care management professionals at Specialty Care Services have compiled these helpful tips to overcome the challenge:

1. Plan Ahead 

When distance means providing elder care is not as simple as driving across town, it’s important to have family discussions about the “what ifs,” situations that could arise with your loved ones, such as: 

  • Flexibility in the living situation depending on severity and who is involved – run through some situations for debate; for example, a fractured knee calling for a rehab stay. 
  • How will you identify when it’s time to implement a change? What could this look like? 
  • Financial concerns in providing care, such as how much work can family members afford to miss? What third-party financial support may be obtainable? 
  • Advance directives for decision-making; make sure all is in order and keep a copy for yourself. 

2. Evaluate Along the Way 

When you aren’t able to see your loved ones every day, it can be tempting to want to overlook the often-uncomfortable business of assessing health and wellbeing in favor of enjoying each other’s company. However, it is crucial to routinely give thought to and assess how your aging parents are really doing. 

  • Reach out to the nurse who is working with your loved ones’ doctor and maintain communication with that person. 
  • Make sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of the physicians’ offices so you can speak openly with the medical professionals, and keep one for yourself. 
  • Have regular phone calls with your loved ones to check in and help them resolve any concerns.
  • Maintain a list of the informal local resources: neighbors, church friends, any other relatives who can be part of your support system. Maintain that network and make sure they know how to get in touch with you and that you encourage their communication.

3. Identify When to Travel and When to Stay Home

Problems are certain to develop, perhaps at a moment’s notice. When you simply can’t travel for every issue, make a decision in advance about what circumstance warrants travel and when you will utilize other resources to offer help.

  • Ask your parents if this is a true medical or care crisis. When making a decision, consult with the healthcare provider, social worker, or nurse for details and seek his/her opinion on whether you should travel in.
  • Could somebody else locally take care of the issue at hand or review and summarize the circumstances for you?
  • It’s okay to go there just to put your mind at ease as well. If staying home and worrying is going to be less effective for you, then perhaps you should go.

4. Consider Using Specialty Care Services

In-home care can not only provide outstanding care for seniors, it can also offer long-distance family members a greater sense of peace and connection. At Specialty Care Services, our professional care staff, which includes a professional care manager, have specialized training in elder care, providing you with peace of mind while they:

  • Provider oversight by a professional care manager
  • Conduct care planning assessments
  • Identify problems, gaps, strengths and resources
  • Monitor health, activity, nutrition, etc.
  • Screen and coordinate other services and support
  • Coordinate with financial, legal and medical providers
  • Communicate regularly with family members
  • And much more

If your aging loved ones are ready to explore options for geriatric care management in Rockville and surrounding areas, contact the care professionals at Specialty Care Services at 301-585-6300. We treat your family like our own, offering customized home care to meet individual needs. Please see our full service area, including MD, northern VA, and Washington, DC.

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