Friday, February 15, 2013

Practical Hints from "Aging Parents & Common Sense".

From the book 'Aging Parents & Common Sense' sponsored by The Equitable Foundation and Children of Aging Parents come practical hints in several areas that children will sometimes find themselves involved in as their parents age. Some may pertain to you, others may not; some are common sense, others may be 'why didn't I think of that?'. I am just offering a few to get you thinking.

*Give your elderly parents a gift of your time. Rather than 'things'. consider giving Dad an afternoon of golf (or whatever HE enjoys) for the 2 of you. Mom and you can have a spa weekend (or whatever SHE would like). Spend time working on projects of any type, for example - helping with financial paperwork, or painting the back fence. No agenda, just enjoy your time together. Mom used to like to go out for lunch -- wish I had done it more!!!
*The illness or death of a friend or relative may be the catalyst for a conversation with your parents about whether their personal affairs are in order. Many people find it useful to collect all personal and financial information in one master binder or file/folder. This can be divided into categories with copies of important papers that are kept elsewhere (possibly a safe deposit box) or any other materials that are useful to have on hand.
*Many newspapers, magazines, and books are published in large print - consider giving these as a gift.
*If you are in the position to help your parents financially, there are a variety of ways to do so. For example - take over some of their ongoing expenses, purchase a home where they can live rent free, give them an annuity, buy a long-term healthcare policy. I would suggest you speak with a financial planner, or accountant, or attorney familiar with these plans to see which may be the best way to go.
*If your parents decide to execute a durable power of attorney, one individual should be named with a second person as successor in case the first person is unable to serve. (Mom had 2 more after me. As we spoke to our attorney, he helped us to do this and we spoke to those involved as well.) It is generally useful to execute more than one copy of the Power of Attorney and provide certified copies to key people, such as the other individuals having the Power of Attorney and your parents doctors, bankers and anyone else you may need to contact. (The other 2 people named for mom had their own copies and I had about 5 copies to keep in case I needed them to hand out.) All the times I took mom to the ER, they asked for healthcare POAs. We had to bring them in each time, they could not keep and oblige by the old ones. Even the pharmacy had a copy so I could talk to the pharmacist.

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