Many family members find themselves transitioning from child to parent as they take on the responsibility of caring for parents or elderly loved ones. While the transition is made out of love, fear and apprehension can surround the decision. Rather than worrying about the move, take time to fully prepare yourself for the journey ahead by following the few steps outlined in this article.
In part 1 of this article, we listed some basic steps for starting out in the elder care world, including what materials to gather, how to keep them classified, and who to involve. In part 2, let's look at the more detailed matters of insurance, declining health, and community outreach.
–Review your loved one's health insurance. If you will be caring for your loved one, be sure to know the status of their health insurance. What plan do they have? What is covered? Are they eligible for Medicare benefits? Do they have any coverage through a private pension package or retirement plan?
–Explore financial resources. What does your loved one have set aside for long-term financial planning? Many elders have a retirement plan or pension that includes planning for medical care. Also, explore the possibility of a legal document that provides a percent of their estate for medical needs. Look for any real estate, savings accounts, IRAs, stocks and bonds, Social Security income, government income, CDs, annuities, and investments. Talk to your loved one about financial support for their care.
–Check into community resources. Many communities offer classes, adult day care services, and senior centers where older loved ones can interact. Utilizing these centers will not only allow your loved one some interaction with others, but will allow you some time to yourself. Also, look into meal delivery, transportation support, and health agencies. Look to community programs to support the care you are giving your loved one.
–Collect information on long-term care. Even if you plan to care for your loved one until the time of their passing, begin collecting information on assisted living and long-term care. Circumstances may change and you might need that information years down the road, and gathering material now will help you make the best decision possible for your loved one.
–Watch for signs of degradation. While loved ones growing older brings many changes in their lives, watch for tell-tale signs of problems. Loss of sight, hearing loss, memory loss, confusion, incontinence, and depression are not normal and should be treated medically. Don't allow these symptoms to be written off as normalcy.
–Consider a care manager. Care managers are professionals trained to assist in the care of elderly loved ones. They can asses the condition of your loved one, make care recommendations, and share invaluable guidance on how you can better care for your loved one. To find one, consult the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
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.