Even if you’ve always talked about personal finance and planning for later years, it’s not always easy to have these conversations with elderly parents.
If you are lucky enough to have your parents still living, that’s wonderful. But as they age, and particularly if one passes and the other is on their own, be watchful of their ability to perform the tasks of daily living. If they refuse any help, you need to start talking about safety and making a plan for their care.
nj.com’s recent article, “When your older parent refuses help,” says that as parents live longer, a tension can develop between the kids who want to be sure that mom and dad are safe, and the parents who want their independence.
For many, the only thing they want help with is remaining independent as long as possible. You can start your conversation there. Maybe there's a relative, neighbor, or friend who’s living alone but can't go home after surgery, because there’s no one to nurse him back to health or someone you know has an injury after a fall. You want to make sure this doesn't happen to you.
Create a plan that addresses who will provide the help and how you will to pay for it. First, while your parent's mind is clear, get a durable power of attorney which allows the parent to select who will help him with financial decisions, if such assistance is needed either temporarily or permanently. Ask an estate planning attorney to draw up this document and get a healthcare proxy. The power of attorney only applies to finances. However, the healthcare proxy appoints a person who can talk to your doctors and gain access to your medical information.
Next, see what professionals in your area could be resources for you. Find a geriatrician in your area. That is a physician who focuses his or her practice solely on seniors. You should also look for a geriatric care manager who knows the resources in your area, and can help you make a plan—whether to bring a parent home from the hospital or to place him or her in a residential care setting.
You should also find a qualified elder law attorney. He or she is trained to identify the elder law issues in routine transactions, like real estate transfers or gifting. In many instances, they collaborate with an informal network of geriatricians, retirement planners and geriatric care providers.
Depending on the relationship you have with your parents, they may welcome having this thoughtful conversation. You can probably anticipate what their response will be. It is best is to put a plan into place, before you find yourselves in an emergency situation.
Reference: nj.com (October 11, 2017) “When your older parent refuses help”