There was a time when a family would typically remain within a small geographical area for generations. Moving far away from your extended family was simply not commonly done. Today, however, it is the norm to live hundreds, even thousands, of miles away from even your close family members. Advances in technology make keeping in touch much easier; however, providing care from afar for an elderly loved one remains difficult. A Los Angeles elder law attorney at Schomer Law Group, APC offers some advice on how to provide care from afar.
How to Be a Long-Distance Caregiver
If you have moved across the country (or the world) and you now have a family of your own and/or a successful career in your current location, it can cause a difficult internal conflict when an aging parent suddenly needs a caregiver. Picking up and moving back “home” may not be a realistic option. Trying to provide care from afar can be stressful though. If you find yourself trying to be a long-distance caregiver, there are some things you can do to make things a bit less stressful for yourself and for your parent, including:
- Arrange for help. While it may be difficult to do from afar, try to arrange for help in the form of local health care providers. If someone provides in-home care you want to develop as close a relationship as possible with this person because he/she has direct access to your parent and could exert considerable influence over him/her. As such, do your background research before agreeing to hire anyone.
- Familiarize yourself with your parent’s medical conditions and routine medications. Check with your parent’s doctors and research online. Make sure though that you have permission for online access to medical records and other information protected by HIPPEA. To help care for your parent you need to have a clear understanding of how any medical conditions they have impact them. This will help you know what to expect and what symptoms to watch out for that could indicate a serious problem.
- Make sure you have the necessary legal authority to provide care. In order to properly care for your parent, you will likely need the proper legal authority to do so. That authority may be given to you in the form of a general power of attorney, as the Trustee of a trust, in medical release forms, as an agent in a medical power of attorney, or as a court appointed guardian. You may also want to become a joint owner of property owned by your parent to make it easier to manage the property. In any case, you need to have the proper documentation close at hand in case someone questions your authority.
- Plan for an emergency. Whether you are caring for an elderly loved one who lives in the same house as you or who lives thousands of miles away, you need to be prepared for an emergency. Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready if you live within driving distance. If you live too far to drive, decide ahead of time the best way to get there quickly (plane, bus, train). If you must travel abroad, make sure your passport is up to date. Finally, have a contingency plan for children, pets, and your job in the event you must pick up and go on a moment’s notice.
- Obtain and secure copies of important documents. This might include your parent’s birth certificate, social security card, insurance documentation, bank account statements, estate planning documents and anything else that seems important.
Contact a Los Angeles Elder Law Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact an experienced Los Angeles elder law attorney at Schomer Law Group APCby calling (310) 337-7696 to schedule an appointment.