That sounds like something your mother might say, right? And how often have you wished you’d followed your mother’s good advice?
Nobody really wants to think about the potential for accidents or illness, and it can happen at any age. But without advance planning, when you or an aging parent experience a serious injury and are about to be discharged from the hospital with needs for ongoing care, the family must make crucial decisions in a highly stressful situation. There may be little time to figure out which long-term care option is the best.
Estate Planning and Elder Law
Plan ahead, if possible, to have a strategy ready when needed. An estate planning attorney focusing on elder law and Medicaid planning can look at your financial resources and determine the need for government benefits and other solutions. This ensures you have answers and are ready for a medical emergency.
Researching Long-Term Care Services
Research in-home services, assisted living, and nursing home facilities in your area. For aging parents, you might be surprised at the amenities and services in many retirement communities. There are increasing opportunities for independent or assisted living. Some facilities also offer transition into memory care if that becomes necessary.
Look into Caring.com, or call 800.973.1540. This is a comprehensive resource that offers information and guidance nationally for living options and caregivers. Then, talk with your parents about the pros and cons of the various choices. Most people want to stay home for as long as possible. In-home care might be an option.
To connect with caregiving services for older adults and families, consult Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, online or call 1.800.677.1116. The Eldercare Locator also provides information on local Area Agencies on Aging. These can be very helpful.
A care manager might be an option. These people have the experience and expertise to coordinate the many elements involved in elder care:
Many care managers work on an hourly basis to pick up prescriptions, accompany your parent to doctors’ appointments, and coordinate communication with long-distance family. Find care managers through the Aging Life Care Association or call 520.881.8008.
Encourage your parents to get their legal documents in order while still in good health. Once they're in a medical crisis, urgency may limit their options for care and cause a greater financial burden to the entire family. However, it's never too late to reach out for professional guidance. It's hard to make informed decisions when you're feeling stressed and worried about a loved one.
Now is the best time to make sure that your parents have created an estate plan. They may want to visit our office by themselves but suggest they provide you with copies of the documents. That way, you'll have the papers ready when you need them, and you won't have to waste time searching.
You can hope for the best or plan for your loved one's well-being. Preparation gives you more control over the future and provides peace of mind for everyone. We can be reached at (207)848-5600 or check out our CONTACT page.