It encompasses all of the subject matter areas contained in this web site. These are brought together and applied to those who are advancing in age.
What on earth happened to those who know how to bake everything, tell us how it works, fix it, make it better or, give us some extra money, parents we used to have? We grew up, but didn’t notice our parents who were already grown up, getting older. Age did something to them. Bones wore out. Gall bladders were removed. Stops at the pharmacy became more frequent. They ask for more help doing every day chores that require a bit of muscle or better eyesight. Most will require at least some help. Some will stay in their houses and function well until the end. A growing number will require assisted living, nursing home or hospice care.
Planning for the care of parents is the parents’ responsibility. It is often ignored. Then it becomes a job for the children to approach.It isn’t easy when dad says “I’ll take care of it” or mom says “I’ll get over this soon.” Less easy when a dropped article of clothing on the stairs causes a fall and a broken bone with a long period of recovery. It is even more harsh when the mind deteriorates. Dad can’t find his wallet and accuses you of taking it and his money. Mom dries her lingerie over an open flame gas stove.
Planning ahead is the best answer. While the folks are fully competent they can discuss what they want to have done if they become mentally unable to make good decisions and who they want to make money and health care decisions for them when they are unable. Protecting parents money from dissipation on nursing home bills of $60,000.00 per year is problematical and requires professional help .
Get together with the parents now and talk about it. These discussions provide a launching pad for going from talking to action.
Without planning, parents are subject to guardianship court proceedings to resolve health care decision making questions and conservatorship court proceedings to resolve money decision making questions. (See my discussion of Probate.) There may be a great deal of resistance to this type of planning. Perhaps the parent is afraid to contemplate physical and mental deterioration. Perhaps the parent is unnecessarily pinching pennies. Professional help should be sought before even broaching the subject with parents. Call me for an appointment.
Elder Planning should cover:
- all the subjects outlined in this website
- physical disability
- mental disability
- long term medical care and whether to use private or public funds
- where is the best place to obtain long term medical care
- what does it cost
- medical assistance planning to qualify for state administered medicaid
- what resources are available, private, public medical assistance
- what rights does the community spouse have if the other spouse enters nursing home
- can the state recover what it paid for care from parents estates
- funeral and burial wishes
- estate planning, wills, trusts, probate
- housing issues