While your older loved one is still in control of his or her mental faculties, getting his or her affairs in order is an important step to take. Granted, it’s a topic you’ll want to bring up from a place of honest love and concern. However, once you do get to the point where such discussions can take place, here are six tips to keep in mind as you help your loved one get his or her affairs in order.
1. Encourage Preparing/Updating a Will
At the very least, your loved one should have a valid updated will. An attorney specializing in elder law matters can help your loved one take this step. If your loved one has significant assets, a trust may be worth considering. This is an option that allows your loved one to determine how his or her assets will be distributed.
2. Discuss End-of-Life Preferences
Again, this is a discussion that should involve an attorney specializing in elder law or estate matters. End-of-life documents allow your loved one to make critical decisions about his or her future care needs while he or she is still capable of doing so. Such documents typically include:
• Durable power of attorney/healthcare proxy – Both of these documents allow seniors to name people to make medical decisions on their behalf when they aren’t capable of doing so.
• Living will – This document allows seniors to make decisions about possible end-of-life care needs, such as nutrition or hydration and breathing assistance.
• Do not resuscitate (DNR) order – With this document, seniors can determine specific conditions under which they would prefer not to be resuscitated by CPR or other means.
If your loved one gives you medical power of attorney, you’ll have the authority to hire a home caregiver for your parent. When researching agencies that provide homecare services, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Home Care Assistance.
3. Make Sure Beneficiary Designations Are Current
It’s common for seniors to have retirement accounts and similar investment or savings accounts that allow beneficiaries to be named. If your loved one made such designations many years ago, they may no longer be valid or reflect his or her current preferences. A financial advisor should be able to help your loved one update beneficiary designations and make any desired adjustments.
Your loved one may prefer to use his or her savings to continue living at home as long as possible, and high-quality help is available. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Woodbridge, CT, Home Care Assistance is a leader in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
4. Put Important Documents/Papers in One Place
Avoid the added stress of having to hunt for important documents after your loved one passes by helping him or her gather important documents and papers. In addition to what has already been discussed, such information typically includes:
• Social security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid information
• Insurance information
• Car title/registration
• Copies of recent tax returns
• Property deeds
• Documents related to mortgages, credit cards, and other debts
As for where to store this documentation, possibilities include a locked drawer, a lock box, a home safe, or a safe deposit box at a local bank. Digital storage is an option as well, as long as appropriate security precautions are taken.
5. Suggest Preplanning Funeral/Burial Arrangements
For some caregivers, this is another uncomfortable aspect of getting affairs in order for a loved one, but it doesn’t have to be. Preplanning a funeral can allow your loved one to have a say in his or her final arrangements, right down to how his or her remains will be handled and whether flowers are preferred.
6. Arrange a Family Meeting
Lastly, suggest having a family meeting so your loved one can discuss everything related to his or her affairs and the decisions he or she has made. This will give other family members a chance to ask questions and express their feelings. It can also be a way to prevent possible disputes later on.
If your loved one’s preferences include living at home throughout his or her later years, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for the possibility he or she may need help with the activities of daily life. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Woodbridge senior home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. Call Home Care Assistance at (203) 444-8575 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.