There are many difficult decisions to be made when caring for an aging family member, so it’s important to establish a financial strategy and processes for if and when that situation arises.
While aging family members are still lucid
Create a written list of important contacts such as their attorney, CPA, insurance agents, bankers, doctors and close friends. Also, have a family conversation about their wishes and goals in their later years of life. Talk about their wishes concerning:
- Long-term care coverage
- Living arrangements
- Medical care
- Living Wills
- Do not resuscitate (DNR) orders
- Estate planning
Encourage your family members to organize their documents and paperwork, and keep important documents together and readily available, including:
- Medicare card
- Social Security card
- Health insurance cards
- ID cards
- Copy of birth certificates
- Doctors names, addresses and telephone numbers
- List of health conditions/health history
- Medication list and dosages
- Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney
- Attorney name, telephone number and address
- Copies of all Insurance policies
- Financial information
When family members start having difficulty
It can be difficult to know when alternative living arrangements should be considered. With any of the following, it may be necessary to consider alternative arrangements:
- Difficulty with daily living demands such as bathing, dressing, eating, etc.
- Inability to manage day-to-day tasks such as shopping, laundry, cooking, housekeeping, and transportation.
- Changes in memory, judgement or the ability to make decisions.
If your family member continues to live on his/her own, develop a written plan to make sure everything is covered, such as:
- Cooking or meal delivery
- Medication scheduling and refills
- Personal care assistance (bathing, exercising, hygiene, etc.)
- Friend/neighbor to check in on them daily