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Are You Beginning to Care for an Elderly Loved One? Part 1 of 3

Your loved one is growing older, and more you are realizing the need for extra care for your elder. What do you do? Can you afford to care for them yourself or to hire a professional? Many questions surround the transition of caring for an elderly loved one. If you decide to take on the responsibility of caring for them yourself, you will face many questions on what to do. To help you make that transition easier, here is a checklist of things to do:

–Take a breath. While you care for your loved one through the rest of their life, you’ll be devoting most of your time and energy to them. Take time to focus on you, starting at the beginning of the transition. Take some time away, pamper yourself, and make sure you’re ready for such a transition.

–Collection information about the elder. Take on the role of investigator and find out all you can about the elder, including date of birth, Social Security number, recent medical visits, prescriptions being taken, primary care physician, and health insurance information. Gather as much information as you can. You’ll need it at some time during your care of them.

–Make a list of vital information. The information you collected in step 2 can easily be lost. To prevent that, create either a physical file or a virtual file on your computer of all important information. Password protect it, lock it in a filing cabinet, and do whatever necessary to keep it private. Include the following in the file:
–Names, phone numbers, and addresses of all doctors, dentists, pharmacies, and hospitals the elder visits.
–Copies of health insurance policies, insurance cards, and medicare cards.
–A list of all medication (prescription or over the counter—even vitamins) that the elder takes, dosage amounts, and dosage instructions. Take this list with you to all medical appointments to avoid dangerous medicine mixtures.
–Date of recent medical visits and exams (procedures done, tests conducted, etc.)
–Complete health history of the elder, including major health concerns of immediate family members of the elder.

–Make use of online resources. You don’t have to go through this transition alone. Look up some elder care advice from others online and use programs designed to help you transition into elder care more smoothly. One resource is LifeLedger that guides you through the elder care process.

–Research, research, research. If your loved one is suffering from a certain medical condition, research it. Learn all you can about the condition like warning signs to watch for, irritants of the condition, prescription drugs that help, research being done on the condition, and medicines that cannot be taken. Be thorough in your research and keep a close watch on how the condition affects the elder.

–Speak to your loved one’s lawyer. Find out what legal preparations your loved on has made. Ask if they’ve set up a loving will, a trust, or some sort of legal document. See if they’ve made arrangements for medical care (financial allowances) and who is legally responsible for their future.

–Call a family meeting. The more family members you involve, the better (granted they are honest and trust-worthy). Let other family members have input on decisions and ask for their help in care. If possible, delegate tasks to other members (handling of finances, doctors’ appointments, outings with the loved one, etc.) The more people you have involved, the easier it will be for you and the more your family members will feel part of the transition.

If you would like more information concerning caring for the elderly, contact Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) at (661) 426-2499 or visit their website at www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com is a comprehensive online resource for Elder Law solutions through wills and revocable trusts. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.

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