This past month, my 95-year-old grandmother returned home after a multi-week rehab of a fractured ankle. My mother and her sisters took amazing care of grandma, not only keeping her company (which was a lot of work in and of itself) but navigating her care payments and implementing home upgrades to accommodate her more limited mobility. Caring for an aging parent can be demanding, and not everyone has three of their children nearby to bear the load. However, there are some simple actions you can do to prepare.
Percentage of people turning age 65 who will need some type of long-term care services in their lifetimes. Source: AARP.org
Make a list of all bank accounts, investment accounts and insurance policies to ensure you know what is owned and where. Consolidate where possible and don’t forget to record all usernames, passwords and security question information.
Establish relationships with your parent’s professional contacts including doctors, financial advisors, accountants and attorneys. You may even participate in a meeting alongside your parents (with their agreement) to understand their plans.
Know where to access important documents like Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Proxies and the key people that can make decisions if your parents are unable to act for themselves. Check that accounts are titled properly, and beneficiary designations are in good order.
Gain an understanding of income streams including pensions, social security or annuity payments. Simplify any monthly bills by setting up automatic payments or by outsourcing to a trusted professional.
Review current health insurance coverage and seek additional guidance as circumstances change over time.
Review your parents’ home to ensure it is and will be suitable for their unique needs. Consider potential upgrades, and the ability to pay home expenses including future modifications.
More often, our own plans will include planning for our parents. Preparing now may avoid dealing with these details amidst an emergency down the road. By communicating on these matters sooner than later you and your parents are caring for each other.
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