The following article was published in the Knoxville New Sentinel on April 18th, 2015. Written by Sharon Pryse, this article offers a lot of great information related to providing support to aging parents. A special thank you to Sharon Pryse and the Trust Company for sharing this article with us at Choices in Senior Care.
As we age, we have a greater appreciation for all that our parents have done for us.
As they age, they usually appreciate all we now need to do for them.
Caring for aging parents is something most of us will have to do at some point. This can get complicated even for those whose parents live nearby, but it is much more challenging when parents and children are scattered across the country.
What can you do to ensure a smooth transition into your parents’ elder years? Plan.
How can you and your parents plan, especially with so much uncertainty?
One thing you can count on, thanks to modern medicine, is that we are living longer. The quality of this longevity isn’t guaranteed, and may mean that some will need more assistance as they age. So, start planning sooner rather than later.
A few things to consider:
- Who will handle your parents’ financial affairs if they are unable to do so?
- Is that person prepared and capable to handle financial affairs?
- Who do your parents want to make medical decisions if they can’t?
Your parents may have done a great job saving and investing, but studies show cognitive abilities diminish with age.
So, what is your parents’ plan B?
I recommend they consider consulting a geriatric care manager while they are still competent and healthy, and that they have a financial plan lined up in advance.
Geriatric care managers are experts on elder care who serve as patient advocates who ensure individuals get the treatment they want — or don’t want — either at their home or at a facility of their choice. They act as a liaison with family members and can often minimize family friction. A GCM is a fairly new concept but one those in their 70s might want to consider. More information can be found at caremanager.org.
As for a financial adviser, encourage your parents to look for an individual they are comfortable with, one with a good reputation and, if possible, one who accepts fiduciary responsibility.
Certified financial planners can be identified through cfp.net. Finding a person that handles tax and bill payment may also be an advantage.
Enlisting one child to handle all the financial matters can lead to disagreements and resentment among family members, which makes hiring an unbiased third party a prudent decision.
Assuring our parents have their plans in order will benefit everyone when the time is most critical.
Doing so can provide peace of mind and take a burden off your parents and yourself, allowing you both to live as worry-free in your later years as possible.