By Florence Matthews
There's little doubt that physical distance adds
another layer of complexity to caregiving. When you
are suddenly faced with a caregiving crisis and are
unable to simply run down the street to handle it,
taking care of a loved one can get a little bit
If you are a long distance caregiver, take heart. In my years as a Care Advocate working with
families, I've found a few basic rules hold true if
you want to prepare yourself.
Gather information BEFORE the crisis.
includes contact information for your loved one's
doctors, medications, medical history, local
pharmacy and other support services.
Create a "Care Notebook." Keep important information
in one place that you can take with you.
Include paperwork from doctors, Care Advocates,
service providers, and so on. Be sure to include
community services that might be appropriate, such
as Meals on Wheels and the Area Agencies on Aging.
Review care needs. A proper care assessment
will evaluate your loved one in two important areas:
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental
Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). In
general, ADLs refer to daily self-care activities,
such as bathing, dressing and eating. IADLs are an
indication of how well an individual's environment
is maintained, such as managing money, shopping,
preparing meals and housekeeping.
Recruit a Care Team. This includes family
members, friends, geriatric care manager, social
worker or nurse, and others who can provide help and
advice in finding and providing long-term care. Don't forget to have your loved one compose and sign
advance directives, such as a health care proxy and
durable power of attorney, and other release forms
that are required if you want to speak with their
doctor and in some instances make decisions on their
behalf. Also, remember to keep copies of all
Hold a family/team meeting. You
can do it by phone or in-person, but be sure to hold
a family meeting well in advance of your loved one's
Paying for care. Many people are surprised to
learn that very few long-term care services are
covered by Medicare or Medicaid. The
alternative is to pay for long-term care from other
sources, such as out of pocket. Be sure to
explore your options for paying for care before a
care situation arises.
Take care of yourself. Don't forget it is okay
to ask for help. Join a support group for
caregivers, and remember to set aside quality time
to enjoy time together.
Source: Genworth Financial