Relocation of elderly parents is challenging in many ways, and it can be an emotional subject when parents have “put down roots” many years ago. Families relocate for different reasons; sometimes, the desire to be closer to grandchildren serves as the impetus to move. Other times, relocation is a means of bringing the parents closer to the adult children, who will be able to better care for them. When moving parents from state to state, a host of senior living considerations come into play that families often do not anticipate.
Requirements for Federal and State-level Programs
Eligibility levels for Medicaid may be state-specific, as other payor sources may be. Families that anticipate the possibility of an interstate move within the next few years should take this into account and consult with their financial professionals as well as their attorneys. Keep abreast of changes in eligibility as these may have significant tax implications.
Legal and Medical Documents
Our Case Managers sometimes encounter couples who have recently had their documents prepared in a different state. Wills (including Living Wills), Powers of Attorney, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders and other documents must be updated when moving to a new state. Also, states use different health care forms with different names, as professionals will anticipate and recognize.
Availability of Local Relatives
A common senior living mistake is to assume that family members will be available to help, simply because the parents will live near them. This can create resentment and tension within a family. Assembling the care team and enlisting the support of family members is critical, which is part of the reason why we urge families to “HAVE THE CONVERSATION” as early as possible. Also, there are ways which relatives who live farther away can provide assistance, such as making phone calls, overseeing banking and conducting research online.
Building and Vetting a Local Team
Not all professionals are created equal! Sometimes, aging parents will move into a community in a new town without much direction. Other times, families simply do not know the right questions to ask when contacting professionals upon whom they will rely for regular care. Part of a senior living Advocate’s role is to provide expert guidance to the “organizers” in the family who are naturally well-suited to managing details of this type.
Emergency Preparedness Kits
Practices vary between states and localities regarding emergency kits. When a senior parent is unconscious or unable to speak, emergency responders must be able to find information about known medical conditions, family contact information, current prescriptions and other vital data. The “Vial of Life” is one widely recognized type of kit. Another common practice is to store this type of information in a red magnetic pouch, stuck to the side of the refrigerator. It is important to be familiar with the most commonly recognized protocols in the city or town where the parents will live. EMTs and paramedics are trained to look for this emergency preparedness information when responding to a call, so it is important to be familiar with local conventions regarding its format and location of placement.
We Can Guide You Through Senior Living Relocation Challenges
Moving always has the potential to be a stressful experience with respect to older adults with dementia and other physical or cognitive impairments. The financial impact is significant, and often greater than anticipated. Careful strategy and planning are required when relocating patients with any kind of complex medical condition. Our Advocates and Case Managers navigate this complex type of senior living situation on a daily basis and have guided many families through it.
Change. Sometimes we see it, sometimes we seek it, and sometimes we become overwhelmed by it. CONNECT WITH US on our website or call NAVIGATE NC at (919) 628-4428 to schedule a confidential initial consultation. What is your gut suggesting right now?
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