Aging Parents – Be Prepared (vol 2)
So this is my second round of random thoughts and considerations for those of you with aging parents – which is pretty much anyone with parents still alive. Just a few more things to consider really. My hope here is that you can be as prepared as possible since I have learned, and witnessed, that not being prepared can be a major PITA (look that one up if you need) and can cause you a lot of grief, stress, anxiety, and money.
(Disclaimer: I am not certified, degreed, or otherwise officially blessed in this (not even sure that exists) – I just have a decent amount of recent experience so sharing my perspective only. Consult your attorney, medical professional, accountant, librarian, and travel agent as restrictions apply. Past performance does not guarantee future results. You get it. And if you don’t, then stop reading now and sell your laptop.)
In “Volume 1”, we chatted briefly about POAs, Wills, and their wishes after death (click HERE for that short blog). All super important stuff, but there is more to think about. So here are a couple more to noodle…
- DNR – DNR stands for “Do Not Resuscitate”, and no, having one doesn’t mean that you will be put down when you get a cold. Click this LINK for a sample form for Illinois, to give you an idea. Basically , having one of those in place makes it clear what you want to happen if “life-sustaining treatment” is deemed necessary. The default, if you do not have one, is called “full code” in hospital terminology. That means that they will do whatever they can to keep you alive – CPR, ventilator, feeding tube, etc. What you want, should be up to you in my opinion. But without this form, you don’t get a say in that since if you need life-sustaining treatment, you won’t be in a position to answer those questions. Again, this is another one of those uncomfortable discussions with your parents, but super important to understand their wishes “just in case”.
- Long-term care – Wow, there are lots of options and things to consider here. Everything from in-home, assisted living, supportive living, nursing home, caregivers, and all the financial and tax implications therein. My suggestion is to again, have this conversation about what do they want to happen in perfect world. Then figure out a Plan B, since we don’t live in a perfect world. Once you have had that discussion, I would work with someone with an eldercare specialty to help you put that plan in place, or at least whatever parts of that are necessary given your situation. I worked with a gerontologist for this, and she was amazing.
- Docs/Meds – This one is more on the tactical side, versus strategic, but if you have it handy, can save you a TON of grief. Simply, get a list of your parents’ medicines and doctors. If they end up in the hospital and you need to help out, having that list ready to go will make you the favorite patient in the ER as nobody has it handy. It can also make a lot of test/procedure decisions easier in case there are any meds that could impact those – and believe me, there are plenty of those. This one “should” be an easy one, but is more often than not overlooked. Don’t be “that guy”. 🙂
That’s enough for now, I think. You have your homework – get to it!