My father lives in Boca Raton, Florida and was recently ill. Until now, he has been in pretty good shape for his 85 years. He is living with a few chronic ailments, such as Diabetes and COPD, and, from time to time he has an episode and has to pay attention to one condition or another. I’ve had some midnight calls from him lately that have caused me a lot of worry and him a lot of stress. It’s impossible for me to get down to him fast enough in an emergency. Are there any resources you would recommend to help me care for my dad long distance? -Sandra, Floral Park, NY
Many people have come to me with this question. When you’re lucky enough to have parents of advanced age, it also means that you may become a caregiver at some point even if you live in another state.
There is a large population of transplanted New Yorkers in Southeast Florida with adult children that live far away. So, fortunately, there is a world of resources available to you in the event that your dad needs daily care or you require help with an urgent need.
To start with, caring.com is a good resource for referrals and this link will take you specifically to recommended Home Healthcare Agencies in your father’s area. Having a trained, experienced home care professional spend time with him a few hours a week can give you feedback that is hard to gather otherwise.
Senior Bridge is another organization that deals with chronic care. They offer qualified advice from a seasoned team.
A medical alert system might give you peace of mind. Giving him a pendant to wear in case of a fall or the sudden onset of serious symptoms can give comfort to you and your father by getting him help fast.
Outside of professional resources, it might be a good idea to contact or visit your dad’s immediate neighbors and stay current on who your father’s close friends are. Make a list of any relatives or family friends nearby who may be of help in an emergency and keep their phone numbers and emails readily available should you need to call on them.
Finally, I suggest an Assisted Living trial stay. Bring Dad up to “visit” and have him try a 30 day stay at any Assisted Living community, no strings attached. If he is not happy he goes back to Florida with nothing lost. Once he is back he may realize he does miss family who could visit regularly and the available meals, housekeeping and activities at the AL community.
Please write me again with any other questions. I’m always here if you need me. Good luck with your dad.