It’s estimated that about 34 million Americans are caregivers for an older parent; of that number, 15% live one or more hours away from the person for whom they’re providing oversight. And according to a 2004 MetLife study, nearly one-third of adults providing care at a distance are helping someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This is part one of a three-part blog post series aimed at providing information and resources for those caring for an aging parent from a distance.
Part I: Determining Priorities
Long-distance caregivers have the same concerns and pressures as local caregivers with the compounded problem of not being near their loved one, including travel costs, having to hire help instead of filling in, and uncompensated time off work. Things will be significantly easier if you can gain access to critical information like your parent’s financial and health records and essential contact information before there’s a crisis. If a crisis has already occurred, such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury, this information is still important to gather, but it may require more detective work on your part.
If there has been a sudden change in your parent’s condition, determining exactly what the situation and immediate next steps are is paramount. Assuming your parent hasn’t been hospitalized, a visit to the doctor will be an important first step in getting current information about their condition.
Other important areas that will need to be prioritized include conducting safety assessments, sorting out legal documents such as power of attorney, and arranging help in the home (if your parent is safely able to remain at home).
Next time, we’ll take a look at how to evaluate all of the resources available to you as you begin to craft a plan to address your aging parent’s needs.
This blog post is Part 1 of a 3-part series on managing
care from a distance for a loved one with dementia.