One of the hardest things an adult child must handle is the responsibility of overseeing their elderly parent's care. As a Santa Barbara elder law attorney, I find that this situation is only made harder when the child and parent live in different states. While arranging for transportation, healthcare, and day-to-day activities is challenging, matters are made even worse when an emergency takes place.
There are many things to take into consideration when caring for an out-of-state parent, such as what kind of situations can be taken care of over the phone as opposed to in-person, finding trusted services when you're unfamiliar with the area, and staying up to date with your parent's daily needs. Santa Barbara elder law attorneys advise that the key to making these situations more manageable is by preparing well in advance.
First, you will want to assess your parent's current situation. This will mean traveling to see your parent and get a good idea of their living situation and needs. In addition, you will want to make appointments with doctors, financial planners, and elder law attorneys in order to develop a better understanding of your parent's medical, financial, and legal situations so you may better know how to provide care. Plan on staying with your parent for a decent amount of time since you will have to fit in a number of appointments, as well as make your own assessment of how your parent is getting along.
If your elderly parent is living alone, a trip to visit them will let you know how well they are doing. This means you'll be able to see whether or not they're able to safely drive a car, if they're handling their medical care and finances correctly, and if their home is suitable for their situation. You may also want to take the time to check out assisted living facilities in the area in preparation for an eventual move, or even speak with a geriatric care manager to see if they could assist your parent while you are out-of-state.
Once you have assessed your parent's situation, you will want to determine which facets of your parent's care can easily be handled from out-of-state. These may include finances and general healthcare, such as insurance payments and issues. In order to handle these affairs, Santa Barbara elder law attorneys recommend that you have Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives drawn up in order to have the authority to help your parent.
If you have any questions about your role as an out-of-state caregiver for an elderly parent, or if you need estate planning documents put in place in order to help care for your parent from afar, we invite you to contact our Santa Barbara elder law firm at (805) 946-1550 for guidance. We'd be happy to meet with you to develop a plan that addresses your family's needs, and if necessary, we can help refer you to an attorney in the state in which your parent lives if additional planning needs to be done there.