You know you’ll play some part in your parents care giving as they start the aging process, but maybe you don’t know quite what will be. Whether financial, health-related, living arrangements, or emotional support, it’s a conversation that’s hard to get started. But taking steps now is the best plan of action to prepare for their future care needs head on. Here are 5 ways that you, their adult children, can help them, and yourselves.
1. Start the Dialog. Maybe your parents already have their future care planned out, but you’ll never know until you ask. Talk with them about their preferences for long term living arrangements and healthcare management. If they haven’t made any plans, now is the time to start while they’re healthy and of sound mind. Once you get the conversation started, discuss power of attorney, living wills, advanced directives, finances, and long-term health insurance options, etc.
2. Get it Together. There is a lot you can do to help your parents get organized for the future. Start by pulling all of their paperwork together in a single, easy to get to place. This includes financial account records, investments, life insurance policies, automobile titles, mortgage information, monthly bills, medical history, social security information, birth and marriage certificates, military records, cemetery plot information, legal documents, and the list goes on.
3. Look at Long-term Care Options
In today’s current economic environment it’s difficult to predict how long a retirement income will last. Your parent’s may be wealthy enough to pay for any long term living arrangements and health care services they’ll require, but most don’t think about that as they save for retirement, and come up short. Whether your parent’s future plans include assisting living or aging in place with care giver services, long-term care is expensive. Is it an option for you or siblings to become full time caregivers? Will social services like Medicare and Medicaid provide financial assistance? Is long-term health insurance a solution? All questions that need answers.
4. Keep the Conversation Going
So you’ve had your initial conversation, working together, you and your parents are collecting and compiling the information. But don’t stop there because you assume everything’s under control. Have regular check-ins with your parents. Have they found the answers to the questions? If so, what are the next steps? Do changes in healthcare policies affect the outcomes or decisions you’ve made together. Always stay abreast of what’s new in terms of legal, financial or policy changes.
5. Ask for Help if You Need It
There can be so much to think about and work through when it comes to planning for your parent’s future care, that it’s often a good idea to seek professional help. Consider consulting a Certified Senior Advisor, an attorney specializing in elder law or a financial planner, or all of the above for advice on long term care financial options.
Your Next Move can help you locate the perfect senior housing for your aging loved one. Our team of relocation specialists are also with you through every step of the transition process including home sale, downsizing, estate sales and moving household goods.
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Your Next Move, Easing Your Senior Transition
Julie Kopetsky, President