Being there when you are far away

old and young hands j0407497My parents were in their 60s when I moved to California, which is 3,000 miles away from “home.” Caring for my aging parents long distance wasn’t even a consideration at that time. As the years passed, my dad developed Parkinson’s and my mom became his full-time caregiver. Had I lived close by, I would have been there for doctor visits and to help with meals and my dad’s care. It wasn’t that they needed an in-home caregiver as much as they needed someone to guide them through the maze of decisions they were making as my dad’s condition progressed and my mom’s ability to care for him declined. I was fortunate enough to know about a hidden gem of a resource—a geriatric care manager (GCM). I often describe them as “life arrangers for the elderly.” Generally speaking, they are nurses or social workers who have dedicated their practices to helping families caring for older adults. Four years ago I attended the annual conference of the National Association of Professional Geriatric...