Two Unbreakable Rules for Caring for an Aging Parent
When I became “care organizer” for my elderly parents, I learned there are a lot of things you have to keep in mind. You need to be patient, for example, and ask lots of questions of potential caregivers and providers. You have to keep calendars up to date and remember to look after your own health and sanity. I could probably pull another dozen guidelines from my book and experiences that I would consider to be “crucial.”
When it comes to the two rules you absolutely cannot break, though, they might be: get everything in writing and know where important documents are kept. Obviously, these are nuts and bolts issues rather than philosophical concerns. But they matter a lot. Let me help you to understand why…
Get Everything in Writing
It’s hard enough just to figure out what your loved one’s wishes might be when it comes to things like a living will or long-term care. Imagine going through tough conversations on these topics and then not having the paperwork to follow through.
That scenario is more common than you might imagine. In fact, it’s not unusual for adult children to spend weeks getting documents in order so they can legally handle their parents’ affairs. It may even take longer if there are missing files, handwritten notes, or incomplete details to contend with.
Find out what your elderly loved one’s wishes are, and then make sure you have everything written, filed, and notarized to back it up.
Know Where the Documents Are Stored
Obviously, this is related to the first paperwork issue, but I want to be clear: in a moment of crisis you don’t have the luxury of digging through dozens of old boxes to find what you need. It’s important to have things like passports, medical records, or banking logins (again, as examples) at your fingertips.
I recommend setting up a file of important papers. Some items will be hard copy originals that should be kept in a safe place and taken with you when you travel to see your parents or conduct business on their behalf. For the most part, though, you’ll want to upload your encrypted files to the cloud so you can have copies (and backups) ready to view from a phone or computer.
Finding, organizing, and scanning dozens or hundreds of documents isn’t fun, but you only have to do it once and it can make an enormous difference when you’re dealing with an emergency.
Looking for Elder Care Advice You Can Actually Use?
My book was created from my own experiences, some research into what other adult children of senior citizens were facing, and dashes of common sense and realism. So, if you’re looking for a way to care for your aging parent that doesn’t involve giving up your entire life or losing your mind, ORDER the book today!
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