Are you parents getting older and unable to care for themselves at home? Perhaps they’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia, or some other medical condition that makes it challenging for them to carry out regular activities. As their child, you’re ready to step up and do what it takes to care for them. Whether that means hiring a home health aide, working out a schedule with your siblings to care for your parents in their home, moving them in with you, or sending them to a nursing home, there’s a lot you need to know.
In order to provide your aging parents with the best care, you need to know specific details about their lives. Details, that you otherwise may not have been aware of. This information will help you to make the best decisions on their future care to ensure they live out the rest of their days in peace. Below are a few things you need to learn sooner rather than later:
Current Health Status and Medications
Do you know what’s going on with your loved one’s health? The first thing you need to learn about your parents is their medical history. The type of medical conditions they’re dealing with can give you an idea of how hands-on you need to be, what changes will need to be made, and more importantly, where they’ll be best cared for.
You will need to get your parent’s permission to speak with their doctors on their behalf. You should not only talk with their primary care physicians, but also with other specialists they might be seeing like a knee doctor, gastroenterologist, chiropractor, hematologist, foot doctor, and more. Ask questions about their health, diagnoses, treatment plans, and for a list of their medications.
Medical Insurance Information
As your elderly family member gets older, they’ll need to visit their doctor and other specialists more often. Their insurance information will be required to determine which medical services are covered, how much of those services are covered, and more. This can help you to create a budget for their medical needs and will also assist you in finding the best service providers within the network to treat your parents.
Monthly Expenses, Debts, and Assets
Taking care of your aging parent will require you to have a clear understanding of their finances. This information will be required if you opt for a nursing home or assisted living facility, and will also be pertinent if you’re going to be taking the responsibility of caring for them yourself. You’ll need to learn about information such as:
- The balance on their checking and/or savings accounts.
- Amount of retirement or pension accounts.
- Debts including but not limited to credit card bills, mortgages, car notes, and medical bills.
- Monthly expenses like mortgage payments, groceries, out of pocket medical costs, and more.
- Valuables that might include expensive jewelry, collector’s items, family heirlooms and more.
Estate Plans, Wills, and Power of Attorney
Though a hard pill to swallow, the day will come when your parents are no longer here. You’ll want to try as best as you can to prepare for this before that day comes. It is important to discuss things with your elderly parents like their estate and the plans they have for it, funeral plans or last wishes, executors, and power of attorneys, as well as living wills which should clearly state what to do should there be a medical emergency. This information will not only be necessary to ease the stress should these events occur, but will also be a requirement for enrolling your parents in an assisted living or nursing home program.
Caring for an aging family member is a huge responsibility. Whether you’re going to place them in an assisted living facility or care for them yourself, you can lighten the burden of these responsibilities by having an in-depth conversation with your loved ones. Express your concerns and ask questions that will help you best determine what needs to be done to ensure they’re taken care of. If you’re having a hard time gathering all of this information, be sure to consult with professionals like their doctor, an attorney, and assisted living staff for assistance.