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Long Distance Caring During the Holidays

by Emily Carton
(Page 2 of 2)

If you feel that your parent is not capable of making an informed decision, then contact his physician for an assessment of his cognitive abilities. This poses different questions about safety and the ability to care for oneself. Yet, even in cases of dementia, there still might be resources available to help keep your parent at home. To do this, engage a geriatric social worker to assist you in making up a care plan and obtaining the necessary resources. If this is not possible due to a parent's extreme incapacity or limited resources, a social worker can also help you to either relocate him to a safer environment or assist in relocation to a facility closer to you.

Without fully assessing your parent's situation no one can offer specific options. Find a professional who can fully evaluate the situation and provide a series of options for your parent. Prior to your next visit to your parent, you may wish to locate a physician if your parent does not already have an ongoing relationship with one. You can also contact a social service agency or a private care manager to meet with you and your parent. If there are legal matters you may need an attorney. By trying to locate services prior to your next visit, you will save yourself days of searching and waiting for appointments.

There are no simple answers or solutions. Each person's situation is different. Each child has a different relationship with her parent, and this may also determine the level of your involvement. You need to think about your parent's needs and your own needs as well. You cannot force services upon a parent who is capable of making decisions and willing to live with some level of risk in order to remain at home. However, if your parent is no longer capable, then you need to act. Even if you notice only a small decline, it is not too early to know what resources are available and who might be able to help. You don't need to do it all yourself. Elicit the help of family members and friends, and, if appropriate, find a professional who knows the resources and can help you through the maze of decision making. You do not have to face this alone.

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