The BEST GIFT Aging Parents Can Give Their Children
Conversations about aging and transitioning into senior living communities aren’t easy for anyone. However, it is imperative that you have these conversations, not just with your spouse, but with your children. The BEST GIFT you can give your family is knowledge of your wishes should you need to transition to an assisted living or memory care community. I’ve spoken with 1,000’s of families over the years that I have worked in senior living, and way too many have no clue about their parents finances or wishes.
Unfortunately, most people work from a state of being reactive instead of proactive. A typical case for us, is a couple, where one has dementia and the other serves as the caregiver. The caregiver covers for their spouse, not letting the family know how far the dementia has progressed. Usually, this is done as a way to protect their spouse and not worry the other members of the family. Sadly, what usually happens is the caregiver is so busy caring for their spouse, that they neglect their own health and die suddenly. Now, the family is grieving the parent who has passed, in addition to having to make difficult care decisions for the surviving parent with dementia.
To prevent this type of situation, it’s important to have an open and honest dialogue with your parents before dementia or other illnesses make it impossible to have these conversations. Speak with a senior placement specialist, like myself to learn about the different types of senior living communities that are available and what the differences are between them. Make sure you have information on your parent’s finances and know where all of their important papers are located. You will need this information when making decisions about senior living communities and services.
An excellent idea is to create a binder of important information. One of my clients did this, and I was so impressed I interviewed her on my podcast so she could teach others to do the same. It’s very simple… use a 3 ring binder, with the following four tabs.
Legal & Important Documents – Marriage certificates, Birth certificates, Social Security card, Drivers License, Military Records, Passport, Medicare Card, Supplemental Insurance, Power of Attorney (POA), Medical POA, Out of Hospital DNR, Will, Pre-Paid Funeral Arrangements, Life Insurance Policies
Financial Information – Social Security income, Savings, Stocks & Bonds, Retirement/Pension Accounts, Long Term Care Insurance, Previous 1-2 years of tax returns, Trust accounts, any documents relating to their estates, Credit Cards, Mortgage Info, Car loans
Household Accounts – Cable, electric, gas, cell phones, email, social media accounts. Be sure to get all of their passwords. Insurance policies – Homeowners, Renters Insurance, Umbrella policies, Auto Insurance
Medical Information – Names of doctors and why they are a patient (urologist, cardiologist, etc.), List of Medications, Medical Records, Covid Vaccination Record
Having this paperwork at your fingertips will save you a lot of stress and frustration. I encourage you to listen to the full episode on my podcast, “Aging in Style with Lori Williams”. It’s Episode #39. Getting Organized! Creating a Binder of Essential Documents for Aging Parents with guest, Lynne Von Villas. Click the link below to listen to the full episode: