Supporting Your Aging Loved Ones from a Distance
At Aging Care Planning Solutions (ACPS), we care for your parents, spouses, grandparents, friends, brothers and sisters. But, we are also there for you, the family and friends who want the best for their aging family members. As Aging Care Professionals (a/k/a Geriatric Care Managers), we are trained to look at the big picture and apply our professional expertise to caring for our clients. In this day and age, families are spread out far and wide, but there are still steps you, as family and friends, can take to contribute to your loved one's well being.
Keep in Touch
· At ACPS, when we start a new case, we sign HIPAA-approved family members up to our proprietary portal where you can access information on your loved ones. You can view a calendar of appointments, read case notes, review medications, and stay informed. You can also add notes for us.
· We update our clients’ families regularly, and we are always available to answer questions. We welcome as much input from you to help us care for your loved ones.
· We encourage you to stay in touch with your loved ones via phone calls, zoom, skype, facetime or in-person visits. Maintaining contact is now enjoyable for both parties since we’re here to do the heavy lifting. A visit now is just a visit, not filled with chores. Relax and enjoy each other’s company.
· Check in with anyone who is caring for your loved one. That includes caregivers, physicians, and friends.
· Stay in touch with other family members. Remind younger ones to send old-fashioned cards or make phone calls.
· Make sure important documents are in order such as a living will, power of attorney, healthcare proxy, and standard will. An elder law attorney can assist you with these and be there for you when it’s time for probate. It’s good to have an established relationship. You can visit the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for more information.
· If your loved one is unable to pay their bills any longer and you are not able to, a Daily Money Manager may just be the answer. For more information, visit the American Association of Daily Money Managers.
· If there is a considerable amount of money that is not being properly managed, consider hiring a financial planner for your loved one. The goal now is to make money work for them and last for the rest of their lives.
· Check to see if there is a Long Term Care insurance policy. This will help offset costs as they escalate towards end of life. ACPS can open these policies for you.
Understand your Loved One’s Condition
· Have that frank discussion with their Primary Care Physician (PCP). The more you know the better able you are to plan for the long run. In the case of dementia, planning is crucial to providing a happy and safe environment.
· Keep notes and information on doctors, bank accounts, insurance, and passwords. While we maintain this information in our files, you may find it helpful to have it handy when a crisis arises.
· Advance care planning turns crisis into action. Interview hospice agencies, home health care agencies, assisted living communities, and nursing homes long before they are needed. Of course, we maintain a list of businesses we feel are exemplary. Feel free to ask.
Loved ones benefit from a team of family and friends working together toward the best possible outcome. Generally families do not know what to do until a crisis occurs, so reach out to us. We are here to help you.
Patti Urban, CSA, is the CEO of Aging Care Planning Solutions, a geriatric care management practice that assists the elderly and their families with advance care planning as well as guidance for patients with life-limiting illnesses. She is also a Certified End of Life Doula, a Certified Senior Advisor, former Executive Director of a memory-care assisted living community, and former owner of a home care agency. She can be reached at www.agingcarePS.com.
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