Today, the world is much smaller than it was just a few generations ago – at least it may seem that way given how easy it is to move across national borders. The ease with which we can all move away, however, can make it difficult to care for an aging parent when the time comes that care is needed. Consequently, you may find yourself providing care from a distance. If so, a Grand Forks elder law attorney at German Law offers some tips that can help you provide care from a distance.
Providing Care Long-Distance
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 are a long-distance caregiver, there are some things you can do to make your “job” a bit less stressful, including:
- Educate yourself. Learn about your parent’s medical history and overall health as well as current medical conditions and 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.
- Investigate. Properly investigate your parent’s care providers. While it may be difficult to do from afar, try to learn what you can about the health care professionals caring for your parent. 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.
- Organize. Create a filing system for important documents. This might include his/her birth certificate, social security card, insurance documentation, bank account statements, estate planning documents and anything else that seems important.
- Gather documents. Obtain original copies of important legal documents. 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. Plan now for possible emergencies. Anytime you are caring for an elderly loved one, whether from within the same house or from 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.
Contact a Grand Forks Elder Law Attorney
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact a Grand Forks elder law attorney at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.
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