Today there are over 46 million seniors in the United States and the number is expected to double by 2060. As more parents look to their adult children for caregiving, it is important to understand all the issues that come along with the responsibility of caring for seniors.
From financial issues to family disagreements to healthcare emergencies, there are many unexpected challenges that arise from family caregiving. Early preparation can help prevent or mitigate these challenges. Below are 5 tips to help prepare yourself for caring for an aging parent:
1. Assess the Financials. Start by gaining access to your parent’s financial records and evaluating the overall situation. Are they in debt? Do they have a system in place to pay monthly bills? Are their beneficiary designations up-to-date on all accounts? Develop a budget and gain an understanding of what type of long-term care they can afford.
2. Prepare the Right Documents. Meet with an estate planning attorney and help your parents develop a will and/or trust that will properly distribute assets once they pass away according to their wishes. While they are still of sound mind, have them sign a power of attorney for both financial/legal affairs and healthcare decisions.
3. Review Insurance Needs. Discuss various options of health insurance, life insurance, homeowners’ insurance and long-term care insurance with a trusted insurance specialist. Make sure policies are sufficient and up-to-date with proper beneficiary designations. Maintain access to the policies and stay on top of paying the premiums.
4. Research Housing or Adult Daycare. Take the time to familiarize yourself with options near you for both full-time assisted living centers as well as adult daycare centers. Make sure your selections align with the financial capabilities.
5. Have the Right Conversations. While discussing long-term care and planning for death and disability can be difficult conversations, it is very important to make sure everyone is on the same page. If several family members need to be involved, schedule a formal meeting. This also gives everyone advance notice that the conversation will be difficult and allows them the opportunity to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally. If there are any difficult family members, consider enlisting the assistance of a paid mediator. Make sure you choose a calm environment and come prepared with a list of topics to cover. On that list should be:
- Making sure a will or trust is or will be created at a certain time;
- Making sure power of attorney documents are in place and explaining why these are needed;
- Discussing any type of legacy wishes your parents may have;
- Determining their burial or cremation wishes and any funeral preferences; and
- Gaining access to the right documents and passwords when the time comes.
Preparation is key to minimizing stress related to caring for aging parents. At Stouffer Legal, our estate planning attorneys can help you get organized and ensure that your parents have the right documents in place so that their goals are realized. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599, emailing us at email@example.com, or register for an upcoming free webinar using the link below: