Saturday, January 14, 2006

caregiving, long-distance

Society today is highly mobile. Many families relocate, sometimes frequently, for employment reasons. Likewise, older people move more often than in the past. During the 1970s, for instance, the number of retirement-age people who moved from state to state increased by 58 percent.
In consequence, families with ailing older relatives who live far away may face difficult problems in caring for them. Travel to provide help is costly in itself, but the greatest problems arise in finding and accessing services needed by the elderly relative. State units on aging offer a good starting point for needed guidance. By law these are required to offer information and referral services at no cost. States are divided into smaller areas, each with a designated Area Agency on Aging to spearhead local services for the elderly. These, too, can be contacted for information about community resources for elder care.
People who need assistance can refer to the government section of the telephone book under state, city, and county headings; these list home care services, human services, mayors' or governors' agents for aging, and the Social Security Administration. The current local "Silver Pages Directory" may identify local area agencies on aging. Others that may provide help are the United Way, Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Services, Protestant Welfare Agencies, and Family Services of America. Neighbors and friends who have used elder services may be able to offer advice on getting started, and direct referrals to service agencies for the elderly are often provided by physicians, nurses, social workers, and clergy.
A Guide for Long Distance Caregivers. AARP booklet, 1986.

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