What if there is a problem and you are not around the corner to help?
Being a long distance caregiver for an elderly or disabled loved one is tough.
Here are some tips for long distance caregivers:
- Hire a local care manager.
- Create a Contact List. Put together a contact list of medical providers, insurance and financial advisors, accountant, friends, neighbors, and church people who you can reach in the event of an emergency.
- Collect Medical Information. Establish online access to medical records, medical conditions and treatments, including a listing of medications and dosages.
- Set up regular home delivery of prescriptions.
- Collect Financial Information. Make copies of financial statements, including bank and credit card statements, retirement account statements, and recurring bills. Establish online access to banking and credit card accounts and watch for any unusual or fraudulent activities. Collect the names, phone numbers and account numbers for her utilities, phone, and cable/internet suppliers.
- Set up Auto Payment for recurring bills where possible. Such payments can usually be set up to be made from a care recipient’s checking account or credit card.
- Document Power of Attorney Authority at Financial Institutions. Establish power of attorney with financial institutions before a crisis. Some will require in house forms created by the financial institutions to avoid later delays or issues. Order a separate book of checks to pay bills if your loved one becomes unable to do so.
- Collect Tax Information. We made copies of the most recent year’s federal, state, local and real estate tax returns. Gather the information required to make future estimated and other tax payments if that becomes necessary.
- Establish HIPAA privacy disclosure authority for health information. Provide healthcare POA to medical providers and medical insurance to allow disclosure of protected health information to designated family members.
- Collect Insurance Information. Document insurance coverages and copies of policy numbers and company contact information.
- Establish relationships with financial, legal, accounting and other professionals, vendors, and even friends.
- Retain a local elder law attorney.
It will take time to set up. The benefits and organization will payoff many times over if and when you need to assist your loved one.
About The Author
Named One of the Main Line’s Top Elder Law Attorneys by Main Line Today
Robert M. Slutsky has practiced Elder Law since 1992 and was one of the area’s first elder law attorneys. Rob Slutsky advises clients on Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning, Guardianships, Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and General Estate Planning. He has represented for profit and non-profit elder care providers and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Rob Slutsky has been the solicitor for the Montgomery County Office of Aging and Adult Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Montgomery County, for more than 15 years.