Aging Parents in South Florida: Long Distance Caregivers
“My mother can no longer live on her own. She’s in South Florida — but I’m in New York. Where do I go from here?”
As you try to figure out how best to care for your aging parent living out of state, the emotional decisions and logistics may seem overwhelming… but we have some suggestions that can make a smoother transition for you and your aging parent or loved one.
Long Distance Caregiving
Over 34 million Americans provide care for aging adults, usually parents or close relatives. Of these caregivers, 15% live a significant distance (one hour or more) from the person for whom they provide care. In many of these situations, an adult child is caring for his or her aging parent while working and caring for his or her own children. These “long distance caregivers” are often oscillating between caring for their family and caring for an aging parent living in another state.
Since many retirees choose to move to warmer climates, many aging parents cared for by “long distance caregivers” live in Florida, while the adult child may leave hundreds or thousands of miles away.
As you think about long distance caring for an aging relative, key responsibilities that you should take into consideration include:
- Managing medical care
- Coordinating services (i.e.: home health care, laundry, meals)
- Managing medical bills, legal issues, and finances
- Providing companionship and emotional support
So, Where Should You Start?
Assess the Needs
- In order to provide the right care for your relative, the first step is to determine what he or she needs. An assessment can be provided by a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM), experienced social worker, or physician. If you don’t have a professional who can provide this assessment, ask friends or relatives for a local, recommended professional or contact the federally-funded Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov. In addition, South Florida-based Expicare nursing agency can walk you through the key steps you need to take. Contact www.expicare.com or toll-free: 855-730-9895.
Create a Plan of Care
The results of the assessment will help you, the loved one for whom you will be providing care, and your GCM or other professional develop a clear plan of care. This is also a good time to invite other family members to the important conversation about how you will care for your aging relative, where he or she will reside, who will provide the services he or she needs, and how family members can share key responsibilities.
The care plan may include relocation to senior housing, to a facility that provides nursing services, or finding nursing services to come to the current residence for an hour or more per day. The care plan will also include key medical professionals who should be involved in your loved one’s medical care and emotional health.
In South Florida, Expicare is known for providing the highest level of home nursing care. Expicare’s experienced nursing staff of skilled, compassionate nurses in Palm Beach County, Florida provide home health care ranging from diabetic and cardiac care to post-surgical and Alzheimer’s care.
This is the time to “get organized.” You and other family members will need to gather, review, and understand many key documents including:
- Health Insurance Policies and Coverage
- Wills and Trusts
- Power of Attorney
- Information for bank accounts, titles, social security, home and auto insurance, birth certificates, usernames and passwords for accounts, etc.
Put the Plan of Care and Important Instructions on Paper
To avoid confusion or duplication of duties among caregiving friends, staff and family members, put the plan on paper and distribute to key friends, staff and family members.
Keep it Current
Schedule a regular care management call to ensure everyone stays informed of any new developments or health concerns. Over time, you may need to revise the plan of care. Once again, make sure that everyone involved in caregiving is updated.
Do you have questions about long distance care giving? Expicare can help. Contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.
Expicare Nursing, Inc.
Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.