Managing the Care of Aging Parents (From a Distance)

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By Janelle Jacobs

As the world becomes increasingly global and people continue to live longer lives, a growing proportion of middle-aged adults are faced with the challenge of caring for their aging parents, who may live across the country or in a different state, and what to do when their parents can no longer care for themselves.

A first thought might be to turn to a nursing home, but there are alternatives - some that are less expensive and provide better quality of care. For instance, one-on-one home care for seniors or nurse aides who pay visits to the home, or live in the home with the senior citizen, can be less costly and can provide the adult child with peace of mind that they would not get from "the system" or a nursing home.

When an emergency happens and a family needs help immediately, but cannot travel to their parent's location to talk directly with doctors or nurses, the family may have a difficult time assessing the severity of the situation and managing the emergency. In order to make the best decision, a family may consider hiring a Senior Care Manager to help the family and their loved one know all of their options and attain the best possible care.

According to Andrea Seewald, LSW, RG, President of Senior Care Consultants in Pittsburgh, PA, "Care Managers can often help the family save money, by helping people remain at home, connecting them to services and/or receiving entitlements". Ms. Seewald goes on to say, "Seldom does one NEED to go to a nursing home! Most care needed by older adults is for assistance with normal daily tasks. An aide or companion can help with these tasks".

Senior Care Managers can take on several roles such as advocating and coordinating care while the client is still in the hospital, nursing home, and/or rehab, coordinating and accompanying the client to doctor's appointments, providing one-on-one home care, coordinating household chores, meals, maintenance, paying bills and managing banking needs, and acting as liaison between the family, older adult, physician, attorney and others.

When loved ones get sick and medical emergencies happen, no matter if you live in the same house or 3,000 miles away, it can be a very, scary ordeal. It is good to know that there are services and caring workers out there who can provide home care assistance and manage the challenges of caring for aging parents.

Janelle Jacobs is a writer in Pittsburgh, PA with interests in senior care and healthy living.

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