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My parents live about 500 miles away from me and my family in Kansas City. I talk to them regularly on the phone, but lately it seems as if mother has had some confusions from our last converstation. And father had a severe stroke about 5 months ago, so I'm worried that they are getting to a point where they might need someone to come check on them. What if my mom can't care for him anymore? How can I help my parents and make sure that they are being taken care of properly from far away?

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Thank you. My sister lives right there so of course has all my dad's proxies, etc. She could have added my name just to get his health info but didn't. The social services worker said I would have to get her to do that. I'm not looking to 'be in charge', just informed. All fine & good if you don't have a sister w/attitude problem. Onward & upward! Some days she'll consult/inform & other days she won't. She moved him before telling my brother or myself. So now I'm not so sure she'll answer my questions.
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You need to have HIPAA authorization. I would speak to the social worker about who to call and when. Most places prefer that one family member do the asking and convey that information to others.
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I have a new question. My parent is just in a nursing home far enough away that I cannot visit him. My sister lives there so legal stuff is not a problem. I would like to contact the nursing home to see how he's 'doing' - accepting the transition. What is the best way to do that. Do I need any proof of being related?
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I must echo the response from other wise individuals. If you are unable to bring your parents closer to you, a geriatric care manager can be a valuable asset. Also, I encourage you, as others have before me, get those advance directives taken care of, do the durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy.
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As stated by all the other responders, I recommend hiring a geriatric care manager, social worker, or another type of caregiver to provide weekly or monthly "check ups." There may be some community resources in the area where you could get this help for free.

In addition, I think it's important for you to start "taking notes" of all of your conversations with your parents. Sometimes, when we systematically look at the issues, it gives us a clearer understanding of the presenting problems. In other words, write down your concerns/examples each conversation you have to begin a "timeline." Then, you can take this "list" and consult a private or community professional to help guide you in assessing and managing your parent's needs.

If you can get your parents to sign releases to give you permission to talk to their physicians, that would be great. Then you can find out more details as well as express your concern re: your parent's functioning. Contact me if you would like more information on that, as I have a form I can send you or you can download for free off my site.

Also, start to look into a power of attorney for health decisions to make sure that if your parent needs help, you have the legal position to make decisions.

Good luck!
Stephanie Erickson
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There are many Care Management companies that can visit and assess your parents needs. From that point, a care plan can be put in place to address their needs. A plan can include anything from a check-in visit, to home assistance.
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Perhaps the most professional way to do this is to use a Geriatric Care Manager, who acts as your agent in the area in which your loved one resides. Find one in the local telephone book, call an Area on Aging office or go on the Association's website.
Jim
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Have you considered hiring someone from an in-home care organization to check in with them on a regular or semi-regular basis.

Best of luck,
Bill
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Can you bring them to live with you? If that's not possible, then you could hire a live-in service to take care of them. There are so many different places, but one I know

Hope it helps!
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