QWC - Aging Parents
My 78-year old mother lives in another state which is several hours away from my home. None of my siblings live close to her either. She lives by herself in an apartment and takes great pride in her independence. She still drives and has some close friends nearby that she sees regularly. Lately I’ve been concerned she may not be able to take care of herself the way she used to. She’s had a couple of minor car accidents and when I talked to her on the phone last week, she mentioned she had fallen in her kitchen but she was OK. She hasn’t mentioned her friends recently either. What can I do to find out what’s going on and get her some help?
Long-distance caregiving poses some tough challenges. Whether the need for help with aging parents comes because of a crisis or in your case, a series of small but worrisome warnings signs, there are many things you can do. Here’s some advice to get you started:
- Make sure you know your mother’s date of birth and social security number.You will need this information to access many services.
- Collect information about medical providers and health insurance. You will need names, phone numbers and addresses of doctors, dentist and pharmacy, copies of health insurance policies and Medicare card.
- Make a list of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter), dosages and instructions for taking them
- Talk to your mother’s doctors to find out as much as you can about her medical conditions
- Call a family meeting to get as many people involved from the beginning. Allow family members to express themselves about what should be done and try to designate a person to be responsible for each task.
- Find out if your Mom has the proper legal tools and documents in place.
- Make sure you have keys to your Mother’s house.
- Consider hiring a care manager to assess the situation, make recommendations about needed services and coordinate caregiving services, if needed.
As an employee of Northrop Grumman, you have access to an outstanding resource and referral program called Work/Life Solutions that can help you. There is no charge for this program. Work/Life professionals can save you time and energy by finding local caregiving and other resources to help you and your Mother. You can contact Work/Life Solutions at the same toll-free number as the EAP, at 1-800-982-8161. When you call this number, you will be directed to the appropriate resources.
For more information on this topic, here are links to two relevant articles available from the Achieve Solutions website: