Caring For Our Elderly Loved Ones
A lot of us baby boomers are stuck smack in the middle of two emotionally and financially challenging realities; our children AND our elderly parents. Kids, as we all know, are a constant financial drain but we love them, what choice do we have?
Elderly parents are more complicated. I learned some things in the past couple of weeks with my mother in ICU and now in extended rehabilitation after complications from a car accident. I'd like to share them with you.
My dad can’t handle the finances or the doctors and all the paperwork and details that go with managing my mother's care. With the advice of a dear friend whose dad has been in long-term care, I obtained what’s called a Durable Power of Attorney (POA). You can download it free from the internet (see below).
This does one very important thing; it opens doors. Your parents still have the power to make decisions for themselves but it empowers you to talk to accountants, banks, doctors, hospitals, etc. Durable POA bulldozes through roadblocks like you can’t believe. Create one for each of your parents, fill in the blanks and have it notarized. Once you have this you’re golden.
The other thing I learned is talk, talk, talk to the doctors. They are very forthright once they realize they have someone empowered to gather information and speak for their patient. I also found that doctors tend to be more diligent about seeking you out to share information if you have POA.
Also, get your arms around their affairs as quickly as possible. I found that once I did this, it was much less stressful as I knew what I was dealing with. Try it, you’ll like it…and hang in there.