Caring for Seniors Legally, Financially and Emotionally
New stressful situations come up unexpectedly as your loved ones age. Flipping the script and becoming the caretaker for a senior is stressful but there are some helpful solutions. Over time, there will be a lot of important decisions that you may or may not be prepared for. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is that you discuss every possible scenario with your loved one.
Although these topics are difficult to discuss, it’s essential to get their input on these decisions. Each person has their own circumstances but there are a few major topics that must be discussed. We’re here to ease the pressure of those tough decisions and discuss how to move forward.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to provide legal assistance for your loved one. Start by planning ahead and preparing for common situations as best you can. Legal and financial help for seniors requires a trustworthy caregivers capable of making sound decisions on their behalf.
A durable power of attorney will be the most beneficial and important documents you can attain if you’re going to be the primary caretaker. As long as someone is of sound mind, they can sign power of attorney over to you. It helps to have in the case of difficult family interactions and tough decision-making times.
- Durable and regular power of attorney are different in that durable will remain intact in case of loss of mental capacity.
- If you have regular power of attorney and your loved one develops severe dementia, you may have trouble making final decisions in the event of family disagreements.
- Power of attorney won’t hold up in every financial and legal institution, but it is the most important step to take in advance.
- Contact the account holder’s bank to fill out an individual affidavit.
Health care proxy is the same thing as power of attorney, but for medically related decisions. Medical power of attorney is often used in place of a health care proxy and are interchangeable to some institutions. They allow you to make treatment decisions and talk to doctors about private matters. Talk to each healthcare provider individually as many require HIPAA forms as well.
A living will is essentially the person’s decisions made in advance of potential life threatening situations. It’s similar to a health care proxy, except the patient themselves are making the call on how to handle problems. This is the best way to make sure the preferences of the person receiving care and clear and concise.
Handling a senior’s financial responsibilities is a tender, touchy subject and could result in continuous family disputes. It’s important to keep everyone close to them involved and communicate as much as possible. Set up a support system by creating a network to help alleviate the pressure of caretaking and share responsibilities.
Helping a senior financially involves creating and balancing their budget. They must be able to afford basic necessities and proper care, which can vary widely on their needs and wants. Seniors should also maintain a reasonable savings account for emergencies, such a medical crisis or major home repair. There are many considerations to take into account, so this is why communication is so important.
When you sit down and have serious conversations, make sure to include finances and major assets in the talk. Create an inventory of all of their important things and document their wishes. The cost of senior care is high and rises consistently, so it’s essential to prepare in advance.
- Look into transferring assets to family as early as you can to avoid Medicare penalties.
- Government assistance often only covers costs if there are a small amount of assets or financial backing.
- Medicare gap insurance is something else that will help to cover unexpected costs.
- The most important thing in all of this is to communicate early and often with your loved ones to clear any confusion.
Mental help can be as simple as sitting down and listening to those you love. Talking and visiting as often as you can keep seniors in good spirits, which has been proven to increase overall well-being. Happy seniors will be more open to communication and trusting others. Regardless of what may happen, talk to them about their wishes for the future.
- Continue to ask them if they’re comfortable and what you can do to make them feel at ease in their home.
- Refrain from arguing openly in front of the senior and keep the mood light when you can.
- Avoid morbidity and negative conversation unless you estate planning.
- The entire support network must keep open communication to make sure all needs are being met.
As soon as you notice their health begin to decline, you must buckle down and have the conversation as quickly as possible. Legal options will be limited as soon as someone is deemed unfit to make decisions on their own. Remain consistently aware of your loved one’s emotional and physical state, especially if you fear they may be suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Remain patient, calm, and supportive; as seniors suffering from dementia often experience emotional outbursts and resist change.
Caring for a senior is a tough task that hopefully involves the whole family. It’s important to gather a network of friends and family to create a support system by using as many resources as possible. Communicate often and consistently to ensure everyone understands and respects the opinion that matters most, the senior. Be ready to discuss the best option for your loved one and only present ideas that keep their best interest in mind. Seniors must be able to trust everyone involved and keep the decision-making limited to just a few people. A proper support network will keep your loved one at ease and comfortable at a time when they need it most.
About the Author: John Winfrey Jr. received his Bachelor’s in 2015 from the University of North Texas after spending much of his 20’s traveling across the country. Majoring in Marketing and minoring in Journalism gave him the experience needed to write and research important topics like senior health. Senior health especially hits home as his veteran father was a senior who eventually became deaf and blind. John had to become as familiar as he could, quickly, to provide support for his father.