Caregiver Newsletter

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Thursday  November 19, 2009 - Issue #459

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Long Term Care - Start the conversation

From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 

The Long-Distance Caregiver

During these next few weeks, many of us will be traveling to visit family members for whom we care from a distance.  In a very short amount of time, we will need to make an informal assessment of our loved ones’ physical and mental health, as well as their living situation.  Are they taking their medications? Are there unopened bills in the foyer?  Old food (or no food ) in the refrigerator?  Are there hazards around the house that could lead to a fall?  Many times, we will not get a positive response to our loving investigations simply because these family members do not want to see their situation change. They have lived in their home for many decades and do not want to take the next possible step toward assisted living care.  In many of these cases, you actually do not have any legal rights to do more than make suggestions about their safety and care.

My friend Gracie went one step further as a long-distance caregiver and enlisted her parents trusted neighbors into her care team.  She had moved across the country many years ago and had become a long-distance caregiver to her dad, who has developed a list of healthcare issues which make it difficult for Gracie’s mom to easily care for him. Of course, Gracie’s parents are stubbornly independent and would do no more than allow for suggestions, which they would heed or not. They would not allow any discussions about care management or in-home help from Gracie.  

Gracie had become concerned on her last trip home when she noticed expired food in the refrigerator and the house in an uncommon state of disorder.  She had been advised by her parents’ long-time neighbors that they try to keep a respectful watch on her parents and they had grown concerned as well.  Gracie thanked the neighbors and went a step further by paying them a small stipend to make sure that they would stop by when they were going to the store and offer to pick up items for Gracie’s parents, and generally keep a watchful eye on them.  The neighbors at first resisted the payment option, but Gracie insisted because she wanted to make sure that even if her parents refused any professional help, that there was an understanding of the importance of the role these neighbors played as Gracie’s eyes and ears.

To date, the parents are none the wiser and the neighbors are able to give Gracie a report about how her parents are doing when she comes home for the holidays.  As a side benefit, her parents are actually enjoying the additional attention paid to them by their neighborhood watch team.

For more tips and techniques about long distance caregiving: Long Distance Caregiving Channel

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Take care

Gary Barg

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Feature Article


Beyond the Stethoscope:
Caregiving through a Doctor’s Eyes

By K.L. Anderson, Staff Writer

Caregiving can be anticipated, yet untimely, long distance or right next door, two hours a week to 24 hours a day. Caregiving is universal. It knows no boundaries of age, race, religion, profession or economic status. Caregiving will touch all of our lives at some point along the way...Continued

Today's Caregiver magazine - Digitial Edition

Navigation Instructions

Guest Column
Extended Families: Our Greatest Resources
By: Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW 

There are many family situations today where you can find three, four or even five generations living under one roof. While the circumstances that result in multi-generational living vary from financial to health-related to simple family closeness, families who choose to live together face initial periods of adjustment...Continued

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Protecting Seniors From Work-at-home Schemes
By: Janet Crozier

“Work minutes a day at home and earn enough to pay all of your bills.”

“Work part-time in your own home and make $500 to $1,000 your first month! It couldn’t be any easier!”   ...Continued


I've been taking care of my parents for going on three years. Two years ago my son was in a car accident that required being transported to shock trauma. One year after, my Mother died. My Father relied on my Mother for everything. Moral support, etc. to the point of being obsessive about being alone.

Now that she is gone, he has transferred that to me. I have no siblings to speak of. It's just myself and my poor over-worked husband. If I don't call him during the day, he doesn't speak to me. If I'm five minutes late, he calls my husband. He doesn't do anything but sit in a chair all day at the computer. No friends - he never wanted them when he was younger, and not now. He doesn't want ANY outside help. Won't go to the doctor. He is a shut-in. Has anyone any suggestions caring for someone that is extremely difficult? I have told my doctor (which is also my Father's), that I will be dead before he is. Any information that might be helpful?

Thank you for letting me vent.

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Inside This Issue:

The Long Distance Caregiver
Beyond the Stethoscope
Guest Column
Extended Families


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Let's Talk -
november 2009

Have you conducted any home modifications on your  loved ones home and if so, what have you done?

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