Many people will be responsible for an elderly parent or loved one at some point. We understand that this can be an overwhelming endeavor – and we want to help. This checklist can help you manage the variety of issues you will need to consider.
Health & well-being
- Help identify and document your loved one's medical professionals, pharmacy, medications, and dosages.
- Establish a network of potential caregivers, including family members, friends, neighbors, and health care professionals.
- Consider purchasing an alert system to allow your loved one to call for help in an emergency.
- Get permission from your loved one to access medical information to ensure HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy laws are met. Without this, a medical provider can't give medical information to anyone other than the patient.
- Research organizations such as the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org), the Caregiver Action Network (www.caregiveraction.org), and the Family Caregiver Alliance (www.caregiver.org) can also provide information and assistance.
- If your loved one can continue to live in his or her home, research local social service or faith-based agencies that may assist with volunteer home maintenance or other needs.
- Assess whether your loved one's current living situation is still a good choice with respect to mobility, cost, and maintenance issues.
- If your loved one has trouble with stairs or other obstacles, discuss the options for improving access and safety.
- Gather information about assisted living facilities and other long-term care options. See the U.S. Administration on Aging's Eldercare Locator at www.eldercare.gov.
- Understand the different levels of care available at senior living centers – independent living, assisted living, nursing care, etc. – to determine the right place for your loved one.
With your loved one's consent, assist him or her to:
- Review financial records and insurance coverage to get a clear picture of his or her situation.
- Identify a strategy to make financial decisions. Who will handle daily money management? Will a group work together to make larger financial decisions?
- Contact financial institutions and complete forms so those authorized by your loved one can access his or her accounts and safe-deposit box.
- Consider establishing automatic payment of recurring bills.
- Investigate whether local social service agencies can help with heating fuel costs or other financial needs.
- Look into local property tax deferral or abatement programs.
- Establish direct deposit of benefit checks into bank and brokerage accounts.
- Learn about his or her Social Security benefits at www.ssa.gov.
- Navigate Medicare, Medicaid, and any other health care benefits he or she may be receiving.
- Medicare resources for caregivers: www.medicare.gov/
- Veterans benefits: www.va.gov
- Discuss how he or she will pay for out-of-pocket costs such as premiums, deductibles and other items Medicare doesn't cover.
- Research trust services options to manage expenses, investments and financial paperwork.
- Review your life insurance policy to ensure it provides for the care of your loved ones in the event that something would happen to you.
- Help your loved one locate his or her will, living will, health care or durable power of attorney, and any trusts that may exist. If he or she doesn't have these documents, have your loved one consider setting up any that are appropriate.
- Offer to accompany your loved one to meet with a financial advisor to review savings and investments, including Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) Accounts, and Life Insurance and Annuities. Also, it is important to ensure that the designated beneficiaries are up-to-date.
- Help locate any documents for prearranged funeral or burial arrangements.
Contact us today
Caring for an aging loved one is a challenging responsibility, but you don't have to do it on your own. We are here to offer advice and answer any questions you may have along the way.
This article was provided by, Jake Szulinski, Edward Jones Investing, a contributing author, and is brought to you by the Ronald J. Fichera Law Firm, where our mission is to provide trusted, professional legal services and strategic advice to assist our clients in their personal and business matters. Our firm is committed to delivering efficient and cost-effective legal services focusing on communication, responsiveness, and attention to detail. For more information about our services, contact us today!
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As a reminder, this Blog Post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice.