Plan Before It’s Too Late
Doesn’t that sound like something your mother would say? And how often have you wished that you’d followed mother’s good advice?
Nobody really wants to think in advance about accidents or illness. But if no advance planning has been done, and if an elderly parent has broken a hip, say, and is about to be discharged from the hospital, the family must make crucial decisions in a highly stressful situation. There may be little, if any, time to figure out which living option is the best.
So, listen to mother. Plan ahead with your parents, if possible, so you will have your strategy ready when it’s needed.
Would your parents want to stay home? Move to a retirement community? Relocate to be closer to children?
Research the options. You might be surprised at how attractive many retirement communities are. There are increasing opportunities for independent or assisted living. Some facilities also offer transition into memory care, if that becomes needed.
Look into Caring.com, or call 800.973.1540. This is a comprehensive resource that offers information and guidance nationally, for living options and caregivers. Then, when you have researched what’s out there, talk with your parents about the pros and cons of the various choices.
Most people want to stay home for as long as possible. In-home care might be an option.
To connect with caregiving services for older adults and families, consult Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, on-line at eldercare.acl.gov or at 1.800.677.1116. The Eldercare Locator also provides information on local Area Agencies on Aging. These can be very helpful.
A care manager might be an option. These people have the experience and expertise to coordinate the many elements involved in elder care: medical providers, financial planners, elder-law attorneys, and rehabilitation specialists. Or, such people can work on an hourly basis, to pick up prescriptions, accompany your parent to doctors’ appointments, and coordinate communication with long-distance family. Find care managers through the Aging Life Care Association, aginglifecare.org, or at 520.881.8008.
If possible, urge your parents to get their legal documents in order while they are still in good health.
That is the best time to make sure that your parents have done the necessary legal documents. They may want to visit our office by themselves, but suggest to them that they provide you with copies of the documents. That way you will have the papers ready when you need them, and you won’t have to search for them under time pressure.