Lisa Conway – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: How can my out-of-state children stay involved in my medical care?
A: I frequently hear this question from seniors with adult children. Visits to the doctor require ongoing coordination, with new information to absorb and disseminate. Family members often want to help, but are hampered by distance. If you decide to work as a family team, consider the level of involvement your family may be able to provide. Then, ensure that each family member’s efforts complement each other, by assigning tasks best suited to each family member’s skill or interest level.
To be perfectly frank, navigating doctor visits and care from afar can be quite challenging. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests considering a local geriatric care manager or Aging Life Care Professional to assess needs and coordinate care through community resources. According to the NIH, a geriatric care manager is “a sort of ‘professional relative’ who can help you and your family to identify needs and find ways to meet your needs.” They suggest asking the following questions when considering a geriatric care manager or Aging Life Care Professional:
- Are you a licensed aging life care professional?
- What is your experience and what professional credentials do you hold?
- What are your areas of expertise and what are the primary services provided?
- How long have you been providing care management services?
- Are you available for emergencies around the clock?
- Does your company also provide home care services?
- How will you communicate information to me and my family?
- Is there a fee for initial consultation and if so, how much?
- Will you provide information on fees in writing prior to starting services?
- Can you provide references?
The Aging Life Care Association suggests a similar list of questions when interviewing a professional care manager. According to the Association, “Aging life care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, Aging Life Care Professionals provide expertise and answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love. They reduce worry, stress and time off work for family caregivers, through assessment and monitoring, planning and problem-solving, education and advocacy and family caregiver coaching.”
For help finding local Aging Life Care Professionals, contact The Experts in Aging at One Senior Place in Viera and Greater Orlando at OneSeniorPlace.com.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.