When it’s time to talk about caring for aging parents, whether it’s an intimate chat with mom or a full-fledged family meeting, here are the things you’ll need to get from your parents.
1. Personal information – When caring for aging parents, be sure you can find critical personal information. Does mom keep her birth certificate in a fireproof safe? Has Dad squirreled away his military records in a safety deposit box? Make sure you understand where you can find these items.
2. Insurance information – From Medicare account numbers to long-term care coverage, an important part of caring for aging parents is having access to insurance information. Ask your loved one where you can find these documents in the event of an emergency.
3. Financial information – Part of your elder care solution should be finding out where you can your loved one keeps financial information. In case of an emergency, you or another family member may need access to bank account information, credit card accounts, and utility accounts.
4. Lifestyle wishes – Perhaps your dad is seriously opposed to living in a nursing facility. Maybe your mother-in-law would rather be in a community of seniors than living alone. Ask your parent what kind of living situation they’d like to consider in the event they become too ill or frail to live independently. Caring for aging parents includes working closely with them to ensure they live a lifestyle they’ll enjoy.
5. Funeral arrangement details – Has mom prepaid for a cemetery plot? Does dad want to be buried in his favorite sports jersey? Caring for aging parents includes discussing their wishes regarding funeral arrangements and services.
6. Contact information – If you’re caring for aging parents, keep a list of who to contact in case of an emergency. The list should include their doctors and specialists as well as, if necessary, prayer chains and close friends. You may also need phone numbers for services involved with your elder care solutions, such as home health services or a meal delivery service.
7. Pet care information – If Grammy dies, who will take care of her sock-chewing, midnight-barking cock-a-poo? When caring for aging parents with pets, make sure he or she makes arrangements for pet care while they are sick or unable to care for them.
8. Important documents – Effective elder care solutions include knowing where the seniors in your life keep documents such as a medical power of attorney, a living will, and a will. If they don’t have these important papers, encourage them to consider having them drawn up. A legal professional can help you and your loved one understand these documents as well as help your parent file them.
It’s easy to talk about the last play of that great football game or how Aunt Meg looked like a pumpkin in that awful orange dress; it’s harder to talk with a loved one about what should happen in the event of their sudden illness or death. Although it’s a conversation no adult child wants to have, it’s a must-have if you’re caring for aging parents.