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Preparing to care for an elder parent

Preparing to care for an elder parent

By Carolyn Hauck on March 19, 2015

It’s likely that many of us will care for an aging parent or be taken care of by our adult child later in life. This is backed by the statistics: From 1994 – 2011, the amount of women caring for an elder parent rose from 9 percent to 28 percent, and the amount of men rose from 3 percent to 17 percent. If this trend continues, preparing for caring or being cared for by a family member will become a near certainty for many us. Like everything else, the transition will go a lot smoother if you’re prepared for it in advance.

Legal Preparations

While other legal matters might spring up down the road, Doug an attorney on JustAnswer notes that there are two key legal matters you should have on your radar if you are preparing to take care of an adult parent:

1)    Make sure you are named as their agent in a Durable Power of Attorney and as their agent in a Living Will Healthcare Power of Attorney Document.

2)    If it hasn’t been written yet, make sure a will or a trust of their property is prepared in case of their passing.

For help with obtaining these documents, filling them out or to draw up a will or trust, talk with a lawyer now.

Financial Preparations

Planning financially for care can be one of the more complicated areas. First off, you’ll need to know how to locate important financial documents, but more importantly, you’ll have to make sure you have access to all accounts. Here are a few more important matters: 

  • Understanding the cost of taking care of an elder parent and learning how to budget for it.
  • Figuring out whose finances will pay for care.
  • Educating yourself about Medicare and Medicaid
  • Being aware of how taking care of an aging parent will affect your own finances and financial future.

If you are preparing to take of an aging parent soon, talk with a financial planner about your current situation.

Medical Preparations

Unless you have a parent who is physically or mentally incapacitated to the point that care is imperative, sometimes it’s hard to know when the time is right for you to become an at-home care provider. Make sure you have a strong relationship with your parent’s medical provider, so you are continually informed about health issues, prescriptions and medications. They can also help you make an informed decision about when to care for your parent at home.

When dealing with medical issues, knowing your way through Medicaid and Medicare will be vital to understanding what types of care are financially viable for your parent. You might also need to consider if in-home help is an option for you and your family.

If you have concerns about a parent, or are wondering if moving in with your adult child is right for you, talk with a doctor now.

When you talk with Experts on JustAnswer, you’ll get customized responses to your particular situation, but there are also online resources such as AARP’s Prepare to Care guide that can walk you through planning and preparations for aging parent care.