Life expectancies continue their upward trajectory, and that means the entire nation is grappling with questions about how to care for their senior loved ones.
Whether you’re the adult child of an aging parent or you’re another concerned relative, you may be looking for more information about long-term care planning that will help them “age in place” and retain their independence as long as possible. Here are some tips that may help:
Ask them for a medical power of attorney
A lot of seniors have trouble keeping track of their growing medical needs, and they may have an even harder time conveying secondhand information from their doctor to their other caregivers. A medical power of attorney can allow you to contact their physicians directly and remain fully informed of their care plans.
That can help you arrange for daily home care services with an independent agency or help from other concerned family members to assist your elderly loved one with bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, cooking and other needs.
Ask for their financial power of attorney, too
A lot of seniors can start to develop problems with money management. They may be overwhelmed and confused by junk mail that looks like a bill, or just frustrated when it comes to remembering to pay their bills on time.
A financial power of attorney can allow you to step in and do things like set up (or cancel) automatic payments and communicate with their bank about any steps you may need to take to prevent fraudulent charges on their accounts.
Look into home modifications for mobility issues
Mobility issues are very common among seniors, so it’s important to plan early – before the changes are 100% necessary. Do they need a new bathroom installed downstairs? Do they need a stair lift? Should a ramp be installed at the main entrance of the house to make it easier for them to get in and out?
It’s important to realize that mobility devices, like wheelchairs and electric scooters, aren’t always covered by insurance, so careful coordination with their medical team can help you better understand what’s available.
Finally, it’s always wise to look into other aspects of long-term planning, including asset protection and Medicaid eligibility planning.