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Our father lives alone, still drives and insists on staying in his house. Our youngest sister and her husband live 15-20 minutes away and are the only ones that really deal with him on a day to day basis. He refuses to live with her and her family, won't accept Meals on Wheels deliveries or go to a nutrition site for meals and socializing. He is 92 and in good general health. How do we help when we live so far away and work full time jobs?

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You get a county social worker to check in on him now and then. You get the phone numbers of neighbors and make sure they have yours in case you are needed. You make sure his 911 has your contact information. Last but not least you keep in touch with his MD, with his permission.
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My father died in 2012 after several years of my mom, my husband, and me taking care of him. Now my husband and I are taking care of my mom. We live in Oklahoma.

Just like your father, Mom refuses to live with us, but she does live just a couple of blocks away from our house, so she is close. We check on her every single day. We do all the house maintenance, yard work, bill-paying, most shopping, etc. for her. (God bless my husband. He is just the best!) She is doing okay at the moment, but she suffers from depression and diabetes, so there are good days and bad days. I also notice her memory slipping, and since Dad ultimately died of Alzheimer's Disease, I am worried about this for her, too.

My brother lives in Florida, so I am the only child involved in Mom's (and Dad's when he was alive) daily care. I think one of the best things distant family can do is to support the one doing the actual caregiving. I can honestly say my brother has never criticized my husband and me for what we are doing for Mom and what we did for Dad. He is always supportive and appreciative of what we do here. He calls Mom often, and when she is in one of her depression modes (not pretty), he calls and it really helps not only her but us. He offers to do whatever he can, and he's already helped us take care of all the legal and financial things that needed to be done for our parents. Even though he works a stressful job himself, I know he would be here in a heartbeat if things get really bad. He also contacts me weekly to see how my husband and I are doing. If something happens to us, he would step in, move Mom to Florida, and take over the job.

I read about so many people whose siblings don't help out at all. I am so sorry for them! I know my brother can't be here personally to help with the day-to-day care, but he always supports our decisions and offers to help in any way he can. The three of us only want what is best for Mom. We are doing the best we can to make her life the best we can for however long she has left. I hope your distant family is as good to you!
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I think that covers it! And, of course, call him frequently with general social chit-chat and visit him as often as you can manage. And ask your sister if there's anything practical you can do to help, bearing in mind the distance. Best of luck, and from a caregiving youngest sibling: thank you for at least giving it real thought.
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And mske sure that your sister knows that as the care duties increase, you're open to helping. Look at some point, there will be a crisis: a fall, a car accident, the doctor will tell you all that he can no longer live alone. At that point, you'll have a family meeting and figure what the plan is. Does snyone have poa for financial and medical. Very important to get those set up before there's a crisis.
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As your sister is bearing the full responsibility, she needs the support of her siblings that are out of town. My sister is is in your position and talks to my mother daily. Almost twice a week, she calls me with a concern that I've already dealt with. I need her input as mom will tell her things that help me and I know I need to keep her up to date on what's happening. I Imagine with 4 of you out of town this would be very difficult.

Who of the 5 has power of attorney and is the health care surrogate. If it's not the sister living close to dad, should it be?

As she makes decisions about dads care, support her and help the other siblings understand the difficulty she is going through.
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I would call your local Visiting Nurses Agency or your local Office for the Aging to see if Medicare would pay for someone to check on him once or twice a week. Also, if your father is on Medicaid, they would pay for a family member to look after him. He would have to have a home evaluation and a disability review done.
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As others have said, good for you for even considering the question/concern! Often siblings who live far away just excuse themselves totally from any aspect of care. I know because I facilitate a Caregiver Support group in our community. In some areas you can hire a geriatric Case Manager to help monitor and coordinate any care issues/concerns which can sometimes help take some of the stress off any one person. Just a thought.......
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As others have said, it's great that you are thinking about this. My Dad who was 92 passed away a month ago. I was the sibling who was close and so my partner and I did the day-to-day caregiving. There were times when I felt overwhelmed and wished my siblings would help. Having them call and check in and help make decisions was nice. It felt as though there was shared responsibility. Also, I could call my sister and rant when Dad was doing something frustrating. We made it into a joke. I would call and say, "your Father did..." She would laugh and know that I mostly needed her to let me blow off some steam. By the end of the conversation, we were both laughing.

Things like paying bills can be done at a distance. We actually hired someone to do this. We simply changed the mailing address on all of the bills to his address. We sent a lump sum each month to cover the bills. He paid the bills and sent us a monthly statement of what was paid and how much of a balance Dad had. This was a huge help to me. It wasn't the regular monthly bills that I could put on auto pay that caused me stress, it was the random bill from the doctor's office or biannual car insurance that was difficult. If a sibling at a distance can help your Dad with bills (and he will accept that help).

Another thing that you can do is to take a few days (vacation or paid family leave) and go spend time with your Dad. This is as much for you as it is for him. You can help him with things around the house and yard, cook with him, clean out the garage. Two of my siblings came out at different times this summer. Dad died quickly and no one was expecting it, both of these siblings felt good that they had spent time with him. We really appreciated their being here.
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Call your sister and check in; maybe even set up a chain email that gives a weekly update to all the sibs that you take charge of drafting and circulating. Set up a calendar where ea sib/family calls one day per week to say hi to dad. If family visits, ask family to give one wked a qtr where they visit and drive dad around, etc and local sister can leave town or stay home with no responsibility or worry about dad.
Gain consensus now before a crisis, that if dad needs more assistance, sis has permission to hire outside help for dad and agree how much each sib can afford to contribute to that expense monthly -- it might be inhome care, or cleaning service, etc.
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It's so refreshing to see a post like this! You need to ask your sister and BIL when do you want me there, and you all take turns.

As one poster said eventually something is going to go sideways, a fall or he drove the car through the garage wall(not trying to be dramatic, these things happen), you should also all Skype or do a conference call and see who has what availability in the event your sister needs help in an emergency.

You really can't rely on neighbors these days, and I don't believe you can get Medicare to cover home health visits as someone suggested. That happens if the elder goes into the hospital and the doctor signs an order for HHC. And that only goes on for so long.

Again, nice to see a question like this. In many cases(it did in mine) it all falls to one adult child.
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