Families were once rather small, nuclear units that remained close together. When children married and moved away, they seldom migrated too far from their parents. However, in the last century or so, as children explored academic and employment opportunities across the globe, some eventually settled hundreds, even thousands, of miles away from where they grew up, and where their parents continued to reside. For the most part, this geographical split causes little trouble since airline flights bring us across the country in hours and we can connect instantly via telephone and Internet. Families can stay in touch even though they are far apart.
Distance can be a problem as parents age
Still, as our parents age, their need for us to be physically closer to them is often emphasized when a health or aging issue crops up. If an aging parent is hospitalized, can no longer care for him- or herself, or needs help managing daily chores, activities and health care appointments, the distance between children and their parents, which once seemed no big deal, now can seem insurmountable. Children are often left feeling powerless to bridge the gap between distance and their parents’ caregiving needs. That’s where the services of a geriatric care manager can help.
Hiring a geriatric care manager
If work, family or lifestyle obligations have taken you away from your parents, yet you want to ensure that someone is nearby to provide you with regular reports on how they are faring physically, emotionally and mentally, then a geriatric care manager might be an option. Hiring a care manager can provide you peace of mind by knowing that someone is watching over your loved one. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging (www.nia.nih.gov), there are several questions you should ask before settling on a geriatric care manager service or individual. These questions include:
- Are you a licensed geriatric care manager?
- Are you a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers?
- How long have you been providing care management services?
- Are you available for emergencies?
- Are you available nights and weekends in case of emergencies?
- Does your company also provide home care services?
- How will you communicate information to me?
- What are your fees? Will you provide them in writing prior to starting services?
- Can you provide references?