For An Elder From Far Away: Geriatric Care Managers
by Terry Weaver, M.P.S., A.C.C.
adult, balancing work and elder care can be a challenge whether your
parent lives next door or out of state. Add children to this,
and the situation becomes compounded. Legal, financial and long-term
planning for elder care is crucial, and long-distance caregivers need
to prepare for travel and time off from work. Face the facts, most
older adults want to stay right where they are. They do not want to
relocate, even if it means being closer to family. If this is what
the elder wishes, as the child, you must respect their wishes.
who work and care for an aged family member, (particularly when
that family member lives far away), one solution is to hire a professional
geriatric care manager. A geriatric care manager is a professional who specializes
in assisting older people and their families with long-term care arrangements.
Care managers have a minimum of a bachelor's degree or substantial equivalent
training in gerontology, social work, nursing, counseling, psychology or
illness, disability or simply the challenges of aging can significantly
alter the lifestyle of older adults. Daily responsibilities
can become difficult.
Efficient coordination of medical, personal and social service resources
can enhance the quality of life for older adults and their caregivers.
Geriatric care mangers assist older adults in maintaining their independence
at home and can ease the transition to a new setting, if needed. Geriatric
care managers also help:
care planning assessments to identify problems, eligibility for assistance,
and need for services.
financial, legal, or medical issues and offer referrals to geriatric
specialists to avoid future problems
and conserve assets.
- Act as
a liaison to families at a distance, making sure things are going
well and alerting families to problems.
with moving an older person to or from a retirement complex, assisted
or nursing home.
counseling and support.
How do you know when it is time to call a professional? Look for
- Is your
loved one losing weight for no known reason? Do they fall?
- Is the
home unkempt and becoming unsafe? How are meals made? Who pays
- Are they
able to (and do they) maintain a neat appearance? Has drinking become
- Is it
safe for your parents to drive? If not, who does the driving for
- Has there
been a sudden memory loss or increased confusion?
in order to answer these questions, you’ll have to pay a visit
to your long distance loved one, or rely on information
from a relative or friend who is close to that loved one. There is
no reason to feel guilty about
being far away as long as you are doing everything
that you can to help.
2004 Today’s Caregiver magazine. Subscriptions are
available by calling 800-829-2734 or online at www.caregiver.com