Planning for Your Aging Parents
Parents spend their prime years caring and planning their children’s future. As the children grow to be adults and the parents age, at some point of time, they need attention from their children. Planning for your aging parents requires patience and understanding. The type of relationship you share with your parents can make this transition easy or difficult. Sometimes we, as grown-up children, need to advise our parents about their old-age planning and help them in organizing their lives. Good news is they, in most cases, are positively inclined to such advice. While planning for aging parents, one need to think about three main things, healthcare, finance & legal and their social life.
Healthcare: Increasing age and deteriorating health often come together. The first step in Healthcare is having a plan that aging parents’ medical bills are paid. Ensure they get medical help as and when it is needed. It is important to know the names and contact information of doctors and dentists attending to your parents. In case of medical emergency, one should have a list of different medicines and drugs; you should know if either parent is allergic to some medicines; have detailed information of past medical history relating to any serious illness or surgery. Does either parent have any artificial joint or pacemaker? Having a copy of health insurance policy can help immensely in case of hospitalization.
Financial and legal matters: Most adult children avoid discussing financial and legal matters with aging parents, assuming that it will make the parents uncomfortable topic. It is, however, important to have a free and frank conversation on this matter before it is too late. You must sincerely impress upon your old parents that you love them and want them to be taken care of. They will definitely open up and share their views with you if they are assured that you will respect their wishes. Getting details about their bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, investment and savings details and different insurance policies can help you plan better. Keeping contact information of your parents’ lawyer and knowing where the final has been filed is also very helpful. If estate planning and last will has not been made, advise them to do it as it must be done by everyone. Having a proper Power of Attorney enables you to take final decisions on behalf of your aging parents when they become incapacitated.
Social connections: Your aging parents may be having other social associations or group of friends who may be equally concerned about their welfare. They can be of substantial assistance in a crisis. If your elderly parents attend a church, keeping the church contact information can be helpful. Discuss if they would like a call from the pastor in case of sickness or hospitalization. Keeping the name and phone number of a close neighbor sometimes helps to get news of your aging parents.
Learning to care for elderly parents with patience and understanding is important because it is they who cared for us as children. Plan wisely for your aging parents; it will help you set a good example for the next generation.
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