Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ready, Set, Go: Tips for Moving Your Parent Close to You, Part 1

Miles--and even states--may separate you from your aging parent. That distance may not have posed a problem until now. But recent falls, depression, dementia or other issues are sending a clear message. Your parent needs to move close to you.

Once you and your family decide on where Mom or Dad should live, and who will sell the home and sort through the "stuff," you'll encounter other issues.

1. If your parent has straight Medicare coverage, the good news is that it is portable throughout the country. The bad news is that fewer physicians are accepting new Medicare patients than in the past. A call to your own doctor may help you locate one. If you're moving your parent to an assisted living facility or nursing home, the admissions staff can usually provide referrals.

2. Medicare Advantage plans, a specific type of managed care, operate in a limited service area. If your parent is enrolled in such a plan, see if it offers coverage in your locale. If not, you'll disenroll your parent from his current plan, and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan near you. Touch base with customer service representatives from both companies to assure a smooth transition.

3. Once you've chosen a new doctor, ask for your parent's records to be transferred. As soon as possible, schedule a visit with the new physician. If you're moving him or her to an assisted living, adult family home or nursing home, the physician will need to see your parent before he or she can move in.

More tips for moving your parent close to you are in the next post.

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