Elder Care Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Aging Parents Concerns
When you are caring for and assisting an aging parent, there are several legal and living concerns to handle. Unfortunately, many common mistakes lead to faulty decisions and even legal difficulties. Caring for elderly loved ones is a serious responsibility. It is important to balance caring for yourself, caring for your parents, and knowing when to hand off responsibility for certain aspects.
Common Mistakes When Caring for Elderly Loved Ones
The more you are prepared for caring for your parents, the less stressful the process will be. There are several common mistakes that adults make when taking care of elderly or aging parents.
- Assuming Your Parents’ Affairs Are in Order It is often difficult for both parents and children to begin managing finances and other critical parts of life. Because of this, many families wait too long. There are some essential aspects you want to have covered as your parents age, including:
- Financial management
- Mental capabilities and scam vulnerability
- Elderly care insurance coverage
- Options for long-term care
- Debts and at-risk assets
- Home insurance payments
You want to ensure that your parents have these things in order. If they do not, then you should have a plan if they are unable to take care of their affairs. Determine what you and your siblings can handle and when you should get professional assistance.
- Postponing Important Conversations Many elderly parents become incapacitated in some way before they pass. Although it is understandably difficult, essential conversations need to happen regarding this time before it happens. The sooner parents and children determine estate plans and healthcare decisions, the easier those situations will be in the future. Topics like estate plans for incapacitation need to be discussed carefully and kindly. Give your parents and other family members time to emotionally prepare. Be empathetic to the fears and concerns of your parents. Work with a mediator if necessary to ensure things go smoothly.An estate plan includes important legal documents such as:
- A trust
- A will
- A medical power of attorney
- A durable power of attorney
These documents outline healthcare, finances, and the distribution of assets after death. It is essential to determine how your parents are taken care of in case they become incapacitated.
- Ignoring Housing Concerns As your parents’ age, they are likely to need more help or emergency care. Consider the distance between their home and nearby emergency care. It may be necessary that aging parents or family members move closer together to provide care for your parents. Eventually, you will also need to consider assisted care or long-term care facilities. Finding appropriate assisted living is likely necessary for many aging parents. Independent living is important to many aging parents. However, you may have to determine when help is needed. There are many options for assisted living to consider, so the sooner you begin these determinations, the better. It takes time to find the right place that meets the financial and emotional needs of your parents.
- Taking Care of Everything Yourself It is essential to take your own needs seriously as a caregiver. You need to be aware that you cannot possibly do everything yourself. Ask for assistance from family members or professionals, or join caregiver support groups. Professional help can include financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, a short-term or long-term part-time caregiver, or a certified accountant. You have your own life and health to take care of. Ignoring your own needs to take care of all your loved one’s needs can have emotional and physical health consequences. Caregiver burnout can manifest as constant exhaustion, high anxiety and frustration, and an inability to de-stress or relax.
- Being Unprepared for Any Parental Needs It is essential that you and your family are prepared for the inevitable courses of life. Failing to do so can have serious implications for your parents and yourself. The sooner you begin planning to take responsibility, the easier the transition will be. If you are beginning to take care of your parents, you want to be sure you know where to find their essential documents. This includes:
- Estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney
- Financial records, statements, and bills, including banking, investments, and retirement accounts
- Insurance records
- Tax returns
- Property deeds
These are all essential things to review with your parents.
Q: How Do You Deal with Elderly Parents with Health Problems?
A: The most important thing to do is have a plan. It is important to ensure essential financial, healthcare, and living arrangements are taken care of. Helping your parents make an estate plan can provide concrete plans for their care if they become incapacitated. You also want to be sure to take care of your own health in addition to that of your parents. You need to know what your limits are.
Q: How Do You Set Boundaries with Elderly Parents?
A: It is crucial to communicate with your loved ones. Be calm and empathetic. It is important to remember that most parents are reacting badly because they are worried about the future. Discuss boundaries respectfully and calmly, but remain firm. If it feels helpful for your mental well-being or to establish your boundaries, find professional help for dealing with care, finances, or legal documents.
Q: How Do I Prepare for Caring for Aging Parents?
A: The sooner you can have important conversations with your parents regarding their care, the better. You and your parents should be prepared for all the issues that arise as they get older. These include determining when your parents should no longer be driving or when they need assisted care. Ask what your parents want from a care facility. You also want to have a plan, such as an estate plan. This outlines the healthcare your parents should be given if they become incapacitated.
Q: How Do You Stay Sane While Caring for an Elderly Parent?
A: It is always useful to take a step back. Make sure you are not suffering caregiver burnout when helping your parents. This means taking time for yourself, finding outlets for stress, and spending time with other family members and friends. Communicate with your parents, but expect that they may be upset and react emotionally. Be empathetic to the fact that your parents will likely feel they are losing control of their lives and individuality. This is a difficult thing for anyone to face.
Paul V. L. Campo, Attorney at Law: Your Estate Planning Attorney
When you or your loved ones need legal counsel for estate planning documents, Paul V. L. Campo, Attorney at Law, can provide the experienced and compassionate care you need. Contact us today to see how we can assist you.