By Joy Loverde
Mom and Bill’s long-distance move from Florida to Chicago taught me numerous invaluable family-caregiving lessons which I wrote about in twenty-four blogs. I’d like to share with you the highlights of what I learned in the hopes that you can bypass some of the unexpected twists and turns of the aging parent relocation process.
- Don’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmingly helpless in the long-distance moving process from time to time. These feelings will pass as you slowly progress through each of the moving-related tasks.
- If one of your parents has a medical emergency and lands in the hospital, contact the hospital discharge planner first thing. It’s never too early to begin the process of planning for a patient’s exit strategy from the hospital. The question then becomes, where will the ailing parent live in the interim if he/she requires extended care?
- The hospital discharge planner should always be treated with as much respect as one would treat the doctor and nursing staff. Never raise your voice or speak to them in anger. Discharge planners follow doctor’s orders and comply with Medicare regulations. They are messengers of information family members often don’t want to hear when it comes to discharging patients. Family members are rarely prepared for a patient’s discharge, and often take it out on the hospital discharge planner. So here’s a word of warning. Be VERY, VERY nice to the discharge planner because he or she holds the cards as to what happens next to your loved one.
- If one or both of your parents get sick during the move, are you aware of what Medicare does and does not pay for, and under what conditions?
- As you go through the various stages of a long-distance move, you’ll most likely be putting out emergency fires along the way. Resist the temptation to multi-task. Solve one major problem as it arises; then move on to the next.
- Do you have a reluctant parent in the move process? Is he or she up planning an “escape” of some kind? Pay close attention to the parent who does not want to move and ask him or her if there is anything you can do to make the process a little easier. Validating his/her difficulties is important.
- Very often there’s no need to stick around after the house is put on the market (especially if your parents’ health is failing). See if your real estate agent can help convince parents that it’s OK for them to move before the house sells.