Like you, I’m a busy professional with a full-time job, spouse, and travel schedule. My days are packed with meetings, presentations, and all kinds of crazy challenges. I travel for work or personal reasons at least once a month. My parents lived in Florida for 13 years with me as their primary caregiver in Ohio. My in-laws live in another country and my husband and I visit them annually. Needless to say, this schedule makes it challenging to be successful as a long distance caregiver.
Over these past 10+ years I’ve made mistakes, cried on friends’ shoulders, found patience I never knew I had, and depended on my husband to keep me sane. Being a tech geek has helped – my minimum criterion for success was to be able to manage any caregiving crisis from anywhere be it office, home, airport, or my mother-in-law’s village overseas. In the last decade I fine-tuned a caregiving system that allowed me to do just that.
Many friends have asked me for tips and advice on how to manage things for their parent. Such requests are usually prompted by some kind of challenge or difficulty. I’m guessing you are reading this because something like this has happened with your parent and you realize you need help.
I have coached friends on what Durable Power of Attorney (POA) and Health Care Power of Attorney (HPOA) actually mean and how to use them proactively with financial and health care providers. Friends have used my spreadsheet templates to document their parent’s accounts, insurance policies, and investments. I have shown colleagues how to navigate the maze of Medicare and supplemental health insurance premiums and reimbursements. And, I have consulted with friends about how to maintain a quality relationship with their parent while enduring the emotional wear and tear that comes with a caregiving role.
I wrote Managing Elder Care from Afar: A Practical Guide for Busy People to share this caregiving system with my friends and everyone else facing these same challenges. This companion website is here to spread the word about the caregiving system and be a resource for the long distance caregiver community.