By: Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW
Often, adult children are also faced
with a demanding relative who wants to know why you just
can’t drop “everything” and spend time caring for them.
What can adult children do to be
better aware of and be able to manage care for their
older relative when there is a physical distance between
them? The following strategies might be utilized:
If there is a neighbor or close
friend who lives near to the older relative, entrust
them to check up and visit on a regular basis. Make
sure that you are contacted if there are any serious
changes that occur.
Make contacts with formal
services that are appropriate with the older
person’s care. These services might include visiting
nurses, senior centers, adult day care or a meals
program. Keep in regular contact with these agencies
and make sure that the older relative is receiving
the care that is needed.
Keep in regular contact with the
older relative’s physician. Call and speak to the
physician directly. If you feel comfortable, have
the physician send you regular, updated notes on the
visits and tests that are administered.
Hire a private care manager.
There are professionals throughout the country who
are trained and experienced in the assessment,
coordination, monitoring and direct service delivery
of services to the elderly and their families. Many
people hire private care managers to serve as their
“eyes and ears” in relation to the status of their
older relative’s condition. Private care managers
can also assist families with implementing and
monitoring a long-term care plan. Family members are
relieved to know that someone is watching over their
loved one, and is keeping them informed if a problem