Caring for an Aging Parent

Mom? Dad? We need to talk.

A Critical Conversation

Talking to your parents about their future care can be tough – we get it. The bottom line is you need to have a plan, for your sake and theirs. If you don’t know how to broach the subject, here are some key points you will want to discuss:

  • Long-term care insuranceDo they have it? If not, should they buy it?
  • Living arrangements: Can they still live alone, or is it time to explore other options?
  • Medical care decisions: What are their wishes, and who will carry them out?
  • Financial planning: How can you protect their assets?
  • Estate planningDo they have all of the necessary documents (e.g., wills, trusts)?
  • Expectations: What do you expect from your parents, and what do they expect from you?

Important Documents

Your next step is to prepare a personal data record listing information you might need in case your parents become incapacitated or die. Make copies of all documents and keep them in a safe place, especially if you live far away.

Here's some information you should include:

Bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate holdings

Wills, durable power of attorneys, health care directives

Health care providers, medication, medical history

Policy numbers, company names

Names and phone numbers of any professional service providers

Keys to safe-deposit boxes, real estate deeds

Geriatric Assessment

If you're worried about your parents' mental or physical capabilities, ask their doctor to recommend a facility for a geriatric assessment to determine their capabilities for day-to-day activities. If you need some guidance to oversee your parents' care, a geriatric care manager (GCM) can help. They can assess your parents' ability to live on their own, coordinate around-the-clock care or recommend options to help your parents remain independent.

You Aren't Alone

Many local and national caregiver support groups and community services are available to help you cope with caring for your aging parents. Contact your state's department of eldercare services or call (800) 677-1116 for the Eldercare Locator, a service that can direct you to resources available. Some of the services in your community may include:

  • Caregiver support groups and training
  • Adult day care
  • Respite care
  • Guidelines on how to choose a nursing home
  • Free or low-cost legal advice

Ready to Start a Conversation?

Speak with a Financial Planner today! Sentinel can help you prepare for your family's future!

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