10 Tips for Long-Distance Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving
Tip No. 5: Take care of necessary paperwork
Find all legal, financial, and insurance documents, including birth certificates, social security cards, marriage or divorce decrees, wills, and power of attorney documents. Identify bank accounts, titles, sources of income and obligations, and auto, life, homeowner's, and medical insurance papers. Review these documents for accuracy and update them if necessary. Store documents in a secure place such as a safe-deposit box or a fireproof box. Be cautious -- make duplicate copies.
Tip No. 6: Tap into the aging network
Contact the local department on aging in your relative's community. This agency can help you identify helpful services. Use the National Eldercare Locator Service at (800) 677-1116 to find local aging agencies.
Tip No. 7: Develop a plan of care
If possible, bring the family together for a meeting. Decide with your loved one what his or her primary needs are, who can provide assistance, and what community resources would help. Summarize your agreement in writing. Keep in mind that family difficulties are typical. You may need to bring in a family therapist or social worker to help.
Tip No. 8: Adjust your plan of care when necessary
Be aware that your care plan may need to be altered. Your loved one's needs may change, and helpers will come and go. Use your care log to deal with changes.
Tip No. 9: Explore relocation issues
Primary questions are when, who, and where.
When: Relocation is appropriate when a health professional recommends a change, your loved one needs 24-hour care, his or her safety is at risk, or the home does not meet fire or safety standards. Other reasons may be less obvious. Remember, your loved one may be willing to bear a little inconvenience to remain in his or her home.
Who: Should you or your loved one relocate? Examine the financial and emotional costs.
Where: There are many options for senior housing. Contact your local department of aging for assistance.
Tip No. 10: Take care of yourself
Caregiving can be taxing. Maintain good health, make time for yourself, set limits, and allow others to help.