can tap tons of help -- Page 2
The Locator quickly connects you to the Aging Network, which consists
of 56 State Units on Aging, 655 Area Agencies on Aging, 236 tribal and native
organizations representing 300 Native American and Alaskan native tribal organizations,
and two organizations serving native Hawaiians.
if you don't know where to begin, the knowledgeable people at the Locator, jointly
administered by N4A and the National Association of State Units on Aging, can
help you identify what the needs are on the other end.
"When people call the call center, we try to
prepare them to make that next call to the Area Agency on Aging,
to prompt them to ask about things like eligibility, and to ask
questions if they don't understand," says Eltzeroth.
Once you've determined your needs and identified local
contacts, organize your long-distance care network. If more help
is necessary, consider the services of a geriatric care manager
(referrals through the National Association of Professional Geriatric
Care Managers at www.caremanager.org)
or a daily
money manager (referrals through the American Association of
Daily Money Managers at www.aadmm.com).
To effectively care long distance for a parent or loved one, you'll
likely need these three legal documents signed in person by the
- Durable power of attorney. This gives you the right
to act on the person's behalf in legal, financial and insurance
- Durable power of attorney for health care. This form gives you
the same representational rights regarding the person's medical
- The advanced health-care directive (also called a Living Will)
gives you the authority to decide end-of-life issues if the person
is incapable of doing so.
care receiver must sign these documents while they still have legal capacity.
Two persons not associated by blood or marriage and without financial interest
in the signer must serve as witnesses, and a notary must record the signing. Cost
to have an attorney draw up the package may run about $250.
Kansas City, Kan., attorney and financial planner
Kyle Krull recommends using an estate or elder law specialist near
where your parent or loved one lives. If durable powers of attorney
were previously signed in another state, make sure your documents
are compliant with the new state of residence and that they are
still valid under current state statutes.
To find a good attorney, Krull suggests you log on
to the Martindale-Hubble
site and search their Lawyer Locator for elder care or estate
planning lawyers in the area where the care receiver lives. Next,
narrow the results to attorneys that show a BV or AV (very high
to pre-eminent) peer rating. Then cross-check your short list against
listings on the National
Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
You'll want to file your
durable power of attorney with your loved one's financial institutions so you'll
be able to assist with paying bills, tending to investments, etc. As for the medical
durable power of attorney, don't hesitate to spread the word.
need to paper the walls with that. You need to make sure that each agent has a
copy and that the primary care physician has a copy, as well as all their specialists,
even their pharmacist," Krull says.
It may also prove to be helpful to have handy the
following information about your parent or loved one: date of birth;
Social Security number; Medicare and Medicaid number; names and
dosage of medications; and contact information for their health
insurer, primary and secondary physicians, hospitals, clinics and
unprepared for care giving? In addition to the organizations mentioned, there
are numerous online sources for valuable information, including the National
Family Caregivers Association, AARP's
care-giving site, Children
of Aging Parents, the Alzheimer's
Association and Generations United,
a national intergenerational advocacy organization.
Bottom line: Assess the needs, assemble your care-giving
network, obtain legal empowerment, keep notes -- and take care of
yourself. It could be a long haul.
For more specific help, see the article "10 strategies for long-distance care giving."
MacDonald is a contributing editor based in Mississippi.