Long Distance Caregiving: How a Care Manager Can Help

December 2, 2019

elder man, aided by walker, walking through woods with son and grandson

Emily Opal lived in the outskirts of Georgia.  She was original from Northern California but moved away thirty years ago to follow her dreams. Emily left behind her mother, father and a younger brother. Emily kept in touch with her family and visited at least once a year.  Emily’s parents were hard working, her father used to raise dogs and hunt in his free time. Emily’s mom was a stay at home mom and did house keeping on the side. Her mom loved to bake and was always giving the neighbors pie’s and cookies.

On her last visit to California she felt that something was wrong. Emily stayed at her parents’ home for a week and noticed a lot of red flags. Her mother was recently diagnosed with early stages of dementia.  Papa was very loving and has been the main caregiver for his wife for a long time now. Papa prepared meals for both of them, reminded her to take her medication, assisted Mom in the shower, made sure she put clean clothes on and took her to doctor appointments. Dad was a Veteran and never asked for help. Mom and Dad didn’t leave the house much and it appeared they never had friends over. Mom would often ask the same questions over and over again.  The first few days Dad was very calm with his response but after the third day he began yelling at Mom. Mom would cry then Dad would become very apologetic. Emily witnessed this several more times on her stay.

Emily tried to take Dad out of the house but he refused to leave Mom alone. He said that Mom disappeared a few months ago and was found five miles away. Emily spoke with her Dad about getting some help. Emily suggested the neighbors could come over for a couple hours but Dad was not comfortable with asking that of friends. Emily was at a loss; she began searching online for help. The first thing that popped up was the Aging Life Care Association.

This association specifically caters to helping your loved one with a wide array of assistance.  An Aging Life Care Professional could assist her Mom to the doctor and relay information to the family. Best of all these specialists are educated in a different field: nursing, gerontology, social work, psychology and most specialize in elder care and aging.  Who would have thought there was someone who could do all of this?  The website allows you to put your address in and they suggest Care Managers that are close to you.

Since Emily’s parents lived in Placerville, she called Elder Options and she was able to talk with a Care Manager directly.  The Care Manager gave many suggestions for her parents and even emailed a packet of information about the company.  Emily shared all the information with Dad and he decided that the help would be beneficial for him and his wife.

The Care Manager met with Emily’s Dad and they discussed keeping mom in the home.  To give Dad a break they decided to have a care giver come into the home twice a week for three-hour increments.  Elder Options has care givers that can assist mom with a shower, meals, transportation, standby assist, light house work and companionship.  Elder Options interviews there employees very thoroughly with back ground checks, reference checks and regular training.  The care givers are CPR certified as well.  Emily has Power of Attorney for both her parents so she is able to follow up with the Care Manager monthly to see how things are going and if more care is needed.

Emily’s Dad is doing great, he started leaving the house and meeting his friends to golf and go out to lunch.  When Emily talks on the phone with her Dad he sounds happy and loves that someone is helping his wife.  Twice a week the care giver comes to the house and they assist her with a shower, they bake cookies together and reminisce about her paintings that are on the wall.  They also started taking Emily’s mom to the Placerville Adult Day Center.  The Care Manager suggested this would be a great way to engage her mom to socialize and participate in activities.


Michelle HowardMichelle is a care manager with Elder Options, Inc. After completing her nursing degree and working in a nursing home setting, Michelle went into the field of care management. Michelle’s passion for care management comes from the enjoyment she receives when working with the public and assisting the members of our community. She enjoys working for Elder Options because “everyone works together as a team to provide the highest quality services to the client.”


Categories: Care Management