As parents age, it is important for the whole family to discuss financial issues, health needs, and other important lifestyle decisions. While these can be difficult conversations to have, it is important to pro-actively make plans before a crisis necessitates action..
- Encourage parents to share financial information with you. It is important to know their fiscal fitness status to begin considering realistic options for care well into the golden years.
- Know the location of important papers. Having a fully-executed Living Will, Power of Attorney for healthcare, and Power of Attorney for financial matters is critical. Additionally, it is important to know the location of insurance papers, life insurance policies, birth certificates, stocks, military records, safe deposit box, and other important records.
- Discuss lifestyle in terms of preferences. It is important not to box yourself in with promises which do not take into account realistic options or financial realities. Siblings need to discuss how they can share responsibilities. Caring for an aging parent at home can add as much as $15,000 – $25,000 annually to household expenses and even more if one needs to discontinue employment to take on care-taking duties.
- Gather health care information including the names and offices of health care providers, medical history, and medications. Keep these lists current.
- Consider adding the signature of a trusted family member to the safety deposit box and checking accounts in the event that someone will need to assist in bill paying.
- Use gatherings to capture the richness of your family history so that it doesn’t get lost with fading memories. Photos with identifying information and video/audio recordings of family gatherings can be priceless for future generations.
Keywords: Eldercare, Aging Parents