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4 Necessities for Long Distance Caregivers

Judie Rappaport
August 21, 2014

Dear Judie,


Ever since Mom (85) moved to St. Petersburg she keeps calling with one emergency after another. The good news is there were no emergencies; the bad news is I always drop everything and run to help her. I vowed not to go again, but realized I’d be guessing—I don’t know how to tell if she really needs help.

- Jan, Palm City


Dear Jan,


You’re right: if you’re “guessing” whether mom needs help, you won’t know if you made the right decision because you don’t have the information you need to evaluate mom’s situation. Reliable reporting can make the difference between a calm telephone call and a last-minute airline ticket or a middle-of-the-night emergency drive. Many long distance caregivers resolve this problem by creating support networks where their parents live.


For an effective network, you’ll need:

  1. A Geriatric Care Manager to report on medical and quality of life issues, determine why Mom calls you, and act immediately in an emergency. (If you can’t afford geriatric care management, rely more on #2-4.)
  2. An Elder Law Attorney for planning that will allow you to take over Mom’s care if you find an emergency, including durable powers of attorney that take effect if mom cannot make appropriate decisions on her own behalf.
  3. A meeting with mom’s physicians (with her) for a clear understanding of medical issues and information to plan for both your futures.
  4. To know two or three of mom’s friends and neighbors who you can call to help confirm whether Mom needs help.


Creating your support network before you need it enables you to act quickly during an emergency. It’s important that mom knows you are not taking over; you are planning ahead so you can help if and when she needs you.



Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©


You May Also Like:

Long Distance Caregiving: Care Options

Knowing When to Intervene With Aging Parents

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