As our loved ones begin to age, certain health concerns arise that may require professional attention. We are lucky that our nation has a great many options in terms of facilities prepared to assume care of our aging population. Many foreign cultures find the act of placing loved ones in assisted living facilities or nursing homes to be rather strange or unusual. These cultures feel that a debt of gratitude and respect is owed to their elders and that the act of housing and caring for them is how they repay that debt. Many Americans feel this way as well. We do our best to go above and beyond to care for our loved ones as they age. The facilities we use in the United States allow families to remain involved in the continued healthcare of their loved ones while relying on medical experts to shoulder some of the heavier burden. The assumption that life can be carried on while parents or grandparents remain attended to within driving distance is a fair one. Plenty of folks remain within the same geographic region as the town where they were raised and presumably seek out facilities relatively close to said region. What about those who are not able to do this? We have to consider all those whose fate led them to homes located a great distance from their point of origin. The doctors, nurses and aides caring for elders at the nearby nursing home do a miraculous job, for sure, but who can come to the aide of distant relatives endeavoring to care for loved ones many miles away? Now, we are talking about some tricky maneuvering. How does elder care management function, from a distance? An effective care manager can make all of the difference.
MORE THAN A ‘MIDDLE MAN’
We are talking about more than a mere “middle man”. Care managers, specifically elder care managers, are individuals who have found a way to utilize their expertise and education to fill in some of the many gaps that will always appear in our healthcare system. Perhaps most importantly, a care manager understands that you have your own life to live, while monitoring the health of a loved one from a distance. Where exactly does the care manager step in? Let’s take a look:
- A care manager will be your eyes and ears. So, at the very least, he or she is a “middle man”
- A care manager will coordinate care. Before a decision is even made regarding what to do about any changes in a loved one’s condition, a care manager will be in place, making decisions.
- A care manager will physically attend medical appointments. As your proxy, the care manager will be someone you can trust to act in your stead.
- A care manager will hire and supervise caregivers. Once you can trust a caregiver to act as your proxy, the next logical step is to entrust them with the power to enlist others.
TIPS FROM A CARE MANAGER
So now that you have a better idea of what our elder care managers do, allow us to share just some of our extensive knowledge on the subject. Our commitment to the care of your loved ones should always be measured by the worth of the knowledge we are always prepared to impart to anyone seeking help with the care of their elders. Our intent is certainly benevolent. It is near impossible to do this work without our hearts front and center. Still, the true value of our services lies within the expertise we impart and its practical application. Here are some tips we can offer if you are attempting to care for a loved one from a long distance:
- Schedule family meetings. If we were offering this advice twenty years ago, to folks whose dilemma is lack of proximity to said family, we might seem foolish. However, this is the 21st century. If you were ever going to find true value in the use of the astonishing, inclusive technology we all take for granted, this would be your moment. A Skype meeting takes care of your audio-visual requirements. A lap top or IPad on either side and your concerns can be relayed to family anywhere on this planet. If corporations can utilize similar technology to share documents, make appointments and disseminate other information, there should be no reason why family meetings can’t achieve commensurate success.
- Delegate. It certainly helps to delegate tasks and even dictate roles to all involved. Assigning duties need not be as formal as if coming from an employer. If done with tact, you will be seen as the organizer while the others will fall into roles corresponding with their respective strengths.
- Travel. We never said travel would be avoided. Truthfully, we rather assumed there would eventually be some visit to see loved ones. The important thing to remember is to try and continue to be strategic about it. For example, in addition to visiting other family, you will certainly want to meet and coordinate with your loved one’s care managers while in the area.
- Sharing sites. There is no shortage of resources in this mission to ensure maximum care for the beloved elders in your life. Once you’ve enlisted the aid of family and care managers, take a look at some of the web sites out there that act as hubs for families, allowing for each member to sign up for different jobs and tasks, or simply to be kept in the loop.
Elder care management is a noble endeavor, without a doubt. A wide range of professions exists within our society whose sole purpose is to accompany its elders every step of the way, into their twilight years. As for care managers at AdvancedRM, we understand what it means to stress over our own healthcare, much less what that stress equates to once the setbacks of old age kick in. It is this empathy that motivates the care managers of AdvancedRM. Allowing us to step in and assume the overwhelming tasks involved in the care of your loved ones is a great honor. It is what we do.