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Caring for Your Parents from a Long Distance - Military Style Part Two – The Checklist

Sometimes a blog inspires new ideas and last week's Caring for Your Parents from a Long Distance - Military Style brought up the idea of a checklist that might help others. Much of the same information but in a shorter format without personal details.  Think of it as a guide and then add your own ideas too!  Share your experiences with others too by commenting! 

1 - Caring For Senior Family Member While Long Distance: print a copy of this list and put in your glove box. One never plans for an emergency long distance road trip. However, when called to go, arrive armed with a design for success.

2 -Communications: Keep informed while on the road.

Cell phone: the phone does not always give a clear perspective of what is going on at the other end.  Do you have key numbers in a contact list?  Need to bring a book of numbers with you?

Laptop: Great resource finder if you have one.

Teach mom/dad, grandma/pa, great grandma/pa how to use her cell phone and voice mail. Do not assume that this is a simple task for an elderly parent.

Social Media: How does your family communicate best? Facebook, twitter, phone, text…? Facebook private message with medical information to siblings who could share with others is a proven avenue.



3 - Medical Coordination

Check medications list: this is a primary action that needs to be taken for an elderly parent.

Who coordinates for care?

Who talks to the doctors, staff, or to social workers?

How much information can you share?

4 - Cooperation: Hospital/Nursing Home/Rehab Center

When was the last time you visited a nursing home? Assess the strengths of the facility and staff.

Ask what the rules are for visitors.

Identify who reviews medications, who help with therapy.

Know that the ‘house will be full’. You might bounce against a lack of information.

Social workers: a social worker is invaluable.

Be at the meeting with the care team for the incoming patient.

Physical Therapy: Talk to the therapist, you know the patient’s strengths, weaknesses and personality, help the therapist know your senior. Physical therapy can be provided at home, however the institutional version is beneficial due to equipment and there are fewer distractions.

Doctor Visits: Find out the doctors’ schedule (s), and be there. Call their office (s) to confirm times.

Sit down with the care team.

5 - Continued Care: Home care

Do your own walk around senior’s home. Is the senior’s home ready for a walker, wheel chair, trip hazards identified? An occupational therapist specializes in this type of review and is covered by Medicare and Tricare!

Home nursing care is covered by Medicare and Tricare.

At the home, perform a ‘walk around’, find trip hazards, do some cleaning, try to make the home and yard ready for a return.

Most likely you will not be able to stay until the return home of your senior. Enlist help

Request Home nursing if necessary. Check local directory for Meals on Wheels.

Turn to their church for a possible list of folks that could help and then the social worker.

6 - Relocation 

Open a conversation with senior about relocation and travel to be closer to family. Tell them that the distance is too great.

Plant seed for relocation, discuss with family for exactly where and how continue!

7 - Legal

Do they have a Living Will? Who is the Executor of his/her/their will?

Where are the legal documents kept? Safe deposit? Fireproof, secure box at home?

Insurance, investments, deeds, etc should be handy.



Families are so much fun! Taking care of parents shows our respect!
Planning for these contingencies seems like a military thing to do … flexibility is the strength of airpower!
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