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Recent Long Distance Caregiving Advice

    My Mom is dead set against going to an old age home or living with her children. She is 90 + years old. She has some issues, however, with hygiene, food preparation etc. If mom remains adamant about wanting to stay in her own home, are we, her children, liable for neglect? We all live between 3 hrs to 10 hours away.
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    Paul N. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    I don't actively practice in Kentucky, so I cannot express an opinion on your question. I would believe the answer in Kentucky would be no, but I don't really know. Have you considered applying for Guardianship? That may be the best answer, if your mother is truly a danger to herself.

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    My parents live in Texas. I live in WA State. My Dad is failing. What do I do? They own property and have set up a gifting for my sister and I. We have real estate to sell, I don't know what do first. THanks for the help.
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    Richard B. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Need to find out more information concerning your parents, you can call us it takes about 15-20 minutes and there is no charge for the time.
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    Dick B. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    You need a lawyer who is both (a) in the locality where your parents live; and (b) familiar with the elder law issues they face. Where in Texas are your parents?

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    My mom lives in another state. She can still live independently, but my sisters and I worry about what would happen if she fell and couldn't get to the phone. Can I set up a "nanny cam" in her house to keep an eye on her? Does such a thing exist?
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    Jordan R. , answers:
    Great answers by Dr. Paris and by Ms. Diane Pagan (RN, MSN). I would just want to add that we discuss some of the issues related to remote caregiving at MyAgingFolks.com/remote-caregiving-for-the-elderly. That page discusses the general issues here as well as the Medical Alert technologies mentioned by Dr. Paris.
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    Barbara P. , Geriatrician MD answers:
    You can set up a remote camera - and many people do. In addition, your mom should also get a personal emergency response system (PERS). Such systems, are about $35 /month- you wear a button on a necklace and if you fall and press the button it will alert someone to help you.
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    Diane P. , Nurse and Care Manager answers:
    You can definitely set up a camera or video device to view your mother while at home. There are such devices available, and some specifically geared for aging relatives. It is a good idea to speak with your mother about this, first, to evaluate her feelings on being "monitored". However, it is also a good idea to evaluate her safety at home, especially if your mohter is living alone, to decide if any other interventions should also be initiated.

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    I live in NYC and need to take off work for 30 days to get my 96 year old mother set up with elder care services in her home. She lives alone in CA. I'm afraid of losing my job if I take extended time off to care for my elderly mom. Please advise.
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    Barbara P. , Geriatrician MD answers:
    It would be best to speak to human resources department at your job. I believe the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) might be of help.

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    My mom is 85 and insists that she can live alone in her mobile home. Her closest family member is 3 hours away. We tell her we think it is not possible, because she forgets things. We don't want to be considered neglectful, but she is very adamant about living alone. Is there a "rule" or law regarding this? Would we be considered negligent or have any legal liabilities if we let her live alone?
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    Irene J. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    An immediate solution: install an emergency response system, necklace or wrist bracelet. Cost is minimum.

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    Dad takes insulin for his diabetes. He is 82 and lives alone back east (I live in California). He has generally been pretty good about taking care of his insulin injections, but recently, his doctor and my dad both told me that he regularly forgets. Is there some type of technology, tool, or something that I should be doing, from afar, to help make sure that he takes his meds? I would like him to be as independent as possible for as long as possible but I don't want his diabetes to threaten his health and eyesight.
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    Denise D. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Always Best Home Care has a new free national service which has people call on any schedule you would like. You might also check the website for Independence Options. They have a lot of medication related electronic helpers. I'm not sure there would be one that would be right for insulin but it would be a good place to try. Good luck!
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    Arlene S. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Yes, there are telephone services that will call the person daily or several times during the day to check on them and/or to remind them to take medication.

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    Mom is 92 and she is living alone with some newly developed health problems. She needs some assistance with household chores i.e. someone to go shopping and generally keep an eye on her. I live too far away to help.
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    Benjamin K. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    The Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide, advocate, and resource for families caring for older relatives and persons with disabilities. The GCM is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, including nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology. In your case, being away from your mother, and reading the brief explanation of your mother's needs, it seems as though you initially need to be in contact with one of the many agencies in CT that will oversee these types of issues, shopping, cleaning and to generally help her in her daily life. The people involved will be able to communicate with you on an ongoing basis, which will give you a degree of comfort itself, and will let you know when additional services are needed. The GCM will be able to help you with implementing new services as they are needed.

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    My parents live in Pittsburgh and I live in New York. I find it exceedingly difficult to monitor their deteriorating conditions from afar. For example, my father had recently been complaining of toothaches. I find out on Sunday that he had three teeth pulled on Friday, after my mother, who is still 'with it' tells me to give him a call. I would have liked to have known, as this process was taking place, more about my father's condition. Was there an abcess? Was this procedure necessary? What other care options might there have been? What does he do now? A prosthetic? An implant. It is very hard being so far away.
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    Donna C. , Nurse and Care Manager answers:
    Geriatric Care Managers can help with assessment and monitoring medical conditions. They also can be an advocate for your parent's care and communicate with you prior to procedures and treatment.
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    Civi S. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    As someone who has parent living 7 hours drive away, I can totally relate! But wearing my professional hat for a moment (I am an attorney), let me just say that you have certain rights when it comes to your parents medical conditions. Firstly, and most simply, you can ask your parents to tell their doctors (or dentists, as the case may be) to speak with you. This is not a violation of HIPAA regulations and if your parents are like my own, the doctors may relish the chance to effectively communicate a medical situation with someone of the younger generation. Secondly, you can consider going through the legal process of becoming a Health Proxy for your parents. This will mean that your parents medical decisions are in your hands. This may not be necessary at this point, or may be more responsibility than you want to accept at this time. Nevertheless, it may be something that you want to consider. Good luck. Cynthia Rosenberg, JD

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