July 31, 2018

What to Discuss with your Aging Parents Before Becoming Their Caregiver

Becoming a caregiver to your parent can be a difficult and overwhelming thought. Watching your parent’s age or seeing them in poor health is hard. While this isn’t easy to do, talking to your parents now about their health care decisions will help you honor their wishes when the time comes. End-of-life talks are more difficult to have in time of crisis than before issues have arisen.

Health Care

Ask your parents to gather important medical documents and make sure they keep records up to date on:

  • Medical & Life Insurance Policies
  • Medicare or Medicaid Cards
  • Medications taken, dosages and costs
  • List of Medical Providers
  • Pharmacy Information

Financial & Legal

Financial and legal documents will make it easier for you to navigate care and follow your parents’ wishes.

  • Create and maintain an up to date will
  • Have a Power of Attorney in place who can be responsible for sustaining the basic necessities of daily living and making decisions about care.
  • Have a Health Care Power of Attorney assigned for healthcare decisions
  • Setup Health Care Advance Directives and provide a copy to their primary care physician regarding wishes of use for resuscitation or life support.
  • Fill out HIPPAA Privacy Release Forms with their doctors so that you have full access to their medical records

End-of-Life Care

Another important piece to consider is extended care. At some point health care needs might be more than what you can provide. Consider all of your options: nursing homes, home care, palliative care and decide what options are best for you both. By mutually agreeing to these arrangements ahead of time your feelings of guilt should be minimal. Discuss all of your parents’ end-of-life care wishes so when the time comes the plan is easier to develop.

These are difficult conversations to have but when needed it is important to have and will help make any decisions/care easier. Make sure documents are updated frequently or as things change.

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