Preparing for a Loved One’s Golden Years

 Caring for aging loved ones has its challenges. The unexpected will undoubtedly occur. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare. It’s probably impossible to avoid all obstacles, but anything we can do to make circumstances more manageable, is well worth our time. A little planning and preparation truly go a long way. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a loved one’s golden years.

Documents

It is crucial for at least one family member to have access to the aging individual’s important documents. It is very stressful to gather needed records in the middle of a crisis. Having these in advance will save your family from unnecessary anxiety. Commonly required documents include:

  • ID – A photocopy of the person’s photo ID or driver’s license.
  • Certificates – You need certified copies of birth, marriage, and if applicable, spouse’s death certificates.
  • Social security card
  • Medical insurance cards – Medicaid, Medicare, and other health insurance cards.
  • Vehicle titles.
  • Passwords to online accounts.
  • Military records if applicable.
  • Contacts – Significant addresses, phone numbers, and emails.

Advance Directives

Living Will

This legal document is extremely helpful. It defines an individual’s wishes if they become unable to advocate for themselves. It generally refers to end-of-life care and decision-making. Your loved one outlines instructions on how to handle issues like mechanical ventilation, resuscitation, and pain management. It leaves little room for debate, giving families some much-needed relief during an immensely stressful time.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This legal document allows your loved one to choose someone to make decisions on their behalf. Of course, this person should generally understand the wishes of the aged individual. This type of advance directive requires a great deal of trust.

Frequent updates

Some information needs to be revised often. Try setting up a quarterly schedule to record changes.

 

Medication

Having a current list of medications is vital. Furthermore, note any allergies your loved one has to food or medicine. It’s helpful to have copies of medication dosage, filling pharmacy, and the doctor who prescribed it . Don’t forget over-the-counter meds, vitamins, and supplements that the individual takes regularly.

Finances

A person’s financial information is very private, so it’s understandable why your loved one may not want to share much of this data. However, it is tremendously useful to have on hand. This is especially true of expenses. If an individual must spend several weeks in the hospital, someone needs to make sure personal bills are being paid. In more serious situations, assets and investments play a crucial role in providing proper care. You may need to have an in-depth discussion with your loved one to explain how important it is for someone to have access to their finances. Perhaps they can select a trusted family member with whom to share this information. It should include assets, investments, expenses, bills, and bank account details,

We can’t predict the events that will occur as our loved ones age. We can, however, prepare and plan for various potential situations. Put forth a little effort now to prevent your family from experiencing unnecessary strain in the future.