When it comes to caring for an elderly parent, there are numerous things to consider. Once you take on this task, it can be difficult to remember everything you need to accomplish and account for. To assist you, here’s a senior care checklist that may help, along with resources for more information.
A strategy for caring for your aging parents is a must on any checklist. However, keep in mind that you should re-evaluate your current strategy frequently, and revise it as your parent’s needs change.
Consider the following when thinking about the caregiving plan for your parents:
- Create a detailed care schedule. Make a list of who will be responsible for what and track adherence where necessary.
- Pets must be considered. If your parents must relocate, determine what must be done with their pets.
- Look into different types of care – depending on their needs now, and their likely needs in a few years. As we get older, moving and adapting to new environments is increasingly unsettling and difficult. Learn about personal care homes, in-home care, progressive care communities, and senior living communities.
- Attend your parents’ doctors’ appointments regularly to ensure you are adequately informed and can be part of the medical conversation. Ideally, have your parents set up you as a medical power of attorney with full HIPAA access. Stay updated and help make necessary adjustments to their treatment.
A thorough examination of your parents’ finances should be included on any elder care checklist. It is critical they organize their affairs. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
- Build a long-term financial plan to assure the resources will be there. Look into financial assistance. Explore public assistance programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security
- Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and veterans’ benefits.
- Examine their insurance and pension plans. Check to see whether they have a disability, life, long-term care, pension benefits, or occupational health insurance. Check to see if they cover home visits, mental health treatments, physical therapy, skilled nursing, or other forms of short-term help.
- Be on the lookout for tax breaks. Many health-care expenses, such as purchasing a wheelchair or a hospital bed, hiring a short-term or part-time home health aide to provide respite for the primary caregiver, paying for out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered with health insurance, and renovation of the home to make it accessible may all be eligible for federal tax deductions.
- Have your parents appoint you, or other relatives, as their financial power-of-attorney, either as durable POA or contingent in the event of their inability to manage at some point.
Understand the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under this act, you may be eligible for a 12-week leave of absence as a caregiver.
Medical And Health
It’s critical to understand your parents’ medical and health needs if you’re going to care for them. Together with your parents, complete the following tasks:
- List all of your parent’s physicians. Get yourself added in their records as a relative with HIPAA access, at a minimum, and ideally also as a medical POA.
- Attend your parents’ medical visits with them. Learn about their wellness and the outcomes of their checkups and testing. This will assist you in understanding and properly anticipating their needs.
- Keep track of your parent’s prescriptions. To make it easier, make sure they’re taking their prescriptions and plan all refills for the same day each month. Learn about the various autofill choices, which can often save money as well as your time.
Take care of your parents‘ legal challenges while they’re still alive. This aging parents checklist will help you remember to:
- Join your parents’ accounts as an authorized user. If your parents are not able to pay their bills, you will be able to do so on their behalf.
- Gather your parents’ important documents. Sort them into easily accessible files. Important papers include: Birth certificate, proof of citizenship, marriage and divorce records, parent/spouse death certificates, burial plot deeds, property titles, insurance policies, military discharge records, pension records, and financial account information (investments, savings, checking, etc.)
Assist your parents with legal paperwork. A will and advance healthcare directive are important to have in place. Strongly recommend your senior parent sign a general power of attorney so that, should they become unable to make decisions, you can decide things on their behalf.
Consult an elder law attorney. These attorneys can assist you with common concerns such as obtaining custody of your parents, handling their finances and devising asset protection measures.
As soon as possible, start talking about their preferences and wishes that they anticipate as they age before dementia and other disorders muddle the matter. Don’t shy away from this painful but necessary conversation. Questions to ask them include:
- Have you considered how you’d like to be remembered?
- What is most essential to you if you can no longer do the things you used to enjoy or take care of yourself?
- What kind of medical care would you desire if you had a life-threatening illness?
- Do you want doctors to concentrate on life-saving or comfort measures if you have dementia?
- What are your concerns about aging?
As people get older, they face physical obstacles ranging from the risks of falling to the memory loss associated with dementia. Here are some things to think about:
- Learn about the risks that your parents face. Help your parents prevent falls as well as other dangers by working with their doctors and organizing the home safely.
- Schedule an appointment with a geriatric care coordinator. Have them analyze the safety of your parent’s home and devise a plan.
- Invest in surveillance technology. If an elderly person living at home wanders away, an alarm or security camera can notify you, and a GPS necklace or bracelet can help you keep track of their location.
Find Out More About Caring For Your Aging Parents
More details about care options can be found by following up with this elderly parent’s checklist. To obtain answers to any inquiries about senior care, contact the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia today.