Tips to taking care of Mom (and Dad) as they age
1. Talk with your parents about what they want! Do they want to stay in their home no matter what? Do they prefer a senior environment such as assisted living? At some future point, they may not be able to tell you and you want to know what they would have wanted you to do.
2. Talk to them about Advanced Directives. Do they want to be resuscitated, do they want artificial feeding etc. This is always a tough discussion but one that really needs to be done.
3. Get a Health Care Proxy in place which specifically states their wishes. Help them to appoint the child ablest to follow through with their wishes. Don’t feel offended if they choose your brother or sister over you as health care proxy. All that matters is someone they love is going to follow the wishes they have put forward.
4. Make sure you have a Power of Attorney and more importantly, make sure that power of attorney is comprehensive! It is best if you see an elder attorney. An inadequate Power of Attorney can cause great problems down the line. Even worse, no Power of Attorney can lead to guardianship and high legal fees.
5. Learn about resources for the Aging. Meet with a Geriatric Care Manager or an Aging specialist to become knowledgeable about the options before you need them. Options such as Home Delivered meal services, online food shopping, Adult Day Care, Home Care, Assistive Technology, Assisted Living and Nursing homes all cost money and planning can help reduce the “pinch”.
6. Be involved with their medical care. You may not need to go to appointments yet, but you should know who their Medical Doctors are and make sure you have a HIPPA release for all of them.
7. Make sure you know where their Will is and DON’T place it in their safe deposit box if you do not have access.
8. Get them to make a list of all their financial information (ie; where they have accounts, life insurance, stocks and bonds especially if they are still paper, etc). They don’t have to hand that information to you. Just ask them to compile a list and put it in a safe place – one you know about and can access if needed.
9. Find out if they have Long Term Care Insurance. If they do, understand the plan benefits so you will be prepared
Colin Sandler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Care Manager providing advice for aging to seniors and their families for over 20 years. Colin Sandler, LCSW, CCM, 2127 Crompond Road, Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567, [email protected], 914-924-2566