Life starts out with your parents taking care of you, but that scenario changes later in life and you often end up caring for your parents. Sometimes preparing for that situation is easy, but not always, according to Connecticut Magazine in “Senior Caregiving 101.”
The very idea of being in charge of the people who taught you how to tie your shoes and drive a car can be emotional, and many people put off having the talk about caregiving until an emergency presents itself -- and that is not a good plan. Most of us in our 40s, 50s, and 60s will, at some point, need to be involved in taking care of a parent, including their finances, living arrangements, legal issues and medical care.
Where should you start? Take it one step at a time.
Begin with a conversation about these issues, long before anyone is sick. Getting started while in a crisis will lead to increased anxiety and sometimes outright panic.
If you are worried that your parents or siblings will think you are after their money, think again. How you approach these topics will make the difference. Once a caregiving plan, and legal and financial matters are addressed, you will all feel more comfortable. Start with a simple thought: “I/We want to make sure that your wishes are respected.”
Is there a lot of paperwork? Yes and no. By preparing in advance, you avoid digging through a scavenger hunt for insurance policies and bills and legal documents. Important legal documents include Wills, Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives. By preparing ahead of time, you will already know where the legal documents are, and you will be free to focus on other important things, such as taking care of and spending time with your aging parents.
It would be a very good idea to meet with an estate planning (elder law) attorney to address your specific circumstances.
Reference: Connecticut Magazine (Nov. 23, 2018) “Senior Caregiving 101”