Dec 6

Why Long-Distance Caregivers Seek Professional Help

During the holiday season families and friends visit aging loved ones. Frequently this is the time when they discover troubling changes in the health, behavior, or physical appearance of their family member. Many will discover their aging loved one now needs more help or attention. Springwell’s Private Geriatric Care Management Program offers a below-market rate solution for long-distance caregivers – those who live a significant distance from a person who needs care.

A recent survey by the Aging Life Care Association (all Springwell PGCM staff, like those shown above, are members), shows that over 30% of an Aging Life Care Professional’s case load involves families attempting to coordinate care for a loved one from a distance.

The 382 participants revealed the top reasons why long-distance caregivers seek help from geriatric care managers. The data show that professionals are contacted most often by long-distance caregivers when:

  • There is a crisis or emergency (76%)
  • Making a visit sees significant changes in health, behavior, or home maintenance (57%)
  • There is a need to explore placement options or relocation (41%)
From mediating complicated family relationships to serving as the local emergency contact, the role geriatric care manager plays varies client by client. The top five services long-distance caregivers are looking for when they engage a professional are:
  • Consultation about how to best help their parent and/or family (87%)
  • Assessment and care planning (83%)
  • Ongoing oversight/monitoring of care (75%)
  • Routine communication and status updates to out-of-town family (68%)
  • Arranging for home care services (68%)
“Most long-distance caregivers hire us when the situation has escalated or becomes a problem that they can’t solve alone,” says Dianne McGraw, LCSW, CMC and president of the Aging Life Care Association. “Our expertise and our knowledge of local resources allow us to become the team captain and coordinate services. We become the eyes and ears for the long-distance caregiver.”

Survey respondents offered examples of long-distance caregiving cases, many echoing the sentiment that working with geriatric care managers reduces stress and helps improve or restore family relationships.

Jo White, LCSW and Director of the Private Geriatric Care Management Program at Springwell, states that “many long-distance caregivers have trusted us to provide the expertise and experience to address the needs of their loved ones. We are passionate about advocating for elders and their families and aim to provide caregivers with peace of mind.”

More information about Springwell’s Private Geriatric Care Management Program.