There are many factors to consider when planning for your retirement or taking on caregiving responsibilities for a loved one. Throughout 2020 LivWell Seniors has been featuring a “Pillars of Planning” series in each quarterly liveWELL newsletter to help guide and direct families through their journey in discovering the best options for their unique situation.
The 4 Pillars
The first three pillars – Financial, Legal, and Legacy – were discussed earlier
this year in the Winter, Spring, and Summer 2020 issues. For the final quarter of
2020, we will discuss the last but not least pillar of planning – Living Solutions.
How to Talk to Your Elderly Parent about Needing Help
Does your long-term retirement plan include your parents? Chances are that they are
counting on you to handle their affairs if they die or become incapacitated. How confident
are you that you have everything you need to handle that role effectively? Do you know
their wishes regarding life-prolonging care? Have they given you power of attorney?
Will they have adequate resources to pay for the cost of their care?
It’s a role reversal none of us are ever ready for. You’re now responsible for the parent
who raised you. Your loved one may need help getting dressed, getting to and from
appointments, or grocery shopping. Did you remember to remind your parent to take
The sooner you begin talking and planning, the easier it will be for everyone involved.
Helping is much more difficult after a crisis, so start talking while your parents are still
healthy and active.
Talk with your elderly parent about hiring a home care professional, the need for
assisted living, or more intensive services can be uncomfortable. Parents may not realize
they need assistance, or they may perceive home care as a threat to their independence.
Here are steps you can take to approach the conversation with your loved one.
• Acknowledge their concerns and provide reassurance.
• Discuss goals for their care. The goal may be to help your loved one maintain
independence in their home or move into assisted living or memory care communities.
• Develop an ongoing casual dialogue. Be patient and persistent.
• Recruit other stakeholders if needed. A trusted spouse, doctor, or family attorney may
be helpful in these conversations.
• Emphasize your desire to improve their well-being and maintain their independence.
• Don’t try to solve everything in one conversation.
Proper planning will give peace of mind, help avoid family conflict, and minimize the
financial impact on everyone involved.
Consider this checklist as you plan for your parents’ care.
- List all banking and investment accounts and where they are held.
- Get contact information for their advisers.
- Make sure the accounts are titled correctly.
- Offer to sit in on a meeting with their financial adviser to review investments and asset allocation and make sure there are adequate resources to support your parents’ lifestyle.
- Review Social Security benefits and ensure all beneficiary designations are up to date.
- Streamline bill paying.
- List all insurance policies (life, health, long-term care, etc.) and where they are located.
- Get contact information for their insurance advisers.
- Offer to sit in on a meeting with their insurance adviser to see if a long-term care insurance policy would be appropriate.
- Review homeowners, auto, and umbrella liability insurance to make sure they are adequate, appropriate, and up to date.
- Review health insurance coverage and consider whether it would be appropriate to add a Medigap policy to pay for costs not covered by Medicare.
- Do they have a will or estate plan? If so, does it reflect their current wishes (i.e. does it pass property to the correct people and have the correct people taking charge)?
- Do they have an up-to-date durable power of attorney for finance and health care?
- Does their health care power of attorney contain a health-care directive that spells out their wishes for life-prolonging care?
- Is the current housing situation suitable?
- Do any changes, updates, or modifications need to be made to the house?
- Have they made contingency plans for illness, disability, or death of a spouse?
- Are there resources to pay for contingencies (e.g. savings or long-term care insurance)?
- Make a list of their doctors and any medications they are taking.
- Help coordinate benefits between care providers and insurance companies.
Most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role to provide care with little or no support. Without reliable support, a family caregiver may suffer pain, depression, and burnout. A burned-out caregiver can have unintended consequences for your loved one who sadly won’t get the quality of care they need. Many of us end up sandwiched between our nuclear family, jobs, and the care of our parents. Having support early on is vital.
LivWell’s referral and placement services are always free. At LivWell Seniors, we understand that making the right senior living decisions can be complicated. Our compassionate, knowledgeable, and local Senior Resource Specialists (SRS) will support you and your family through this journey.
Becoming a parent to your parent is never easy, but you owe it to both them and you to have things in order. The good thing is you don’t have to do it alone.
LivWell Seniors is more than a referral organization—it is an organization that helps seniors thrive. Our seniors have worked hard to help build our communities and now, it is our turn to make sure they are cared for in the best ways possible. We at LivWell Seniors call it the Freedom to Live Well!
CONTACT US AT: