7 Important Questions for an Aging Parent

Advice For Caregivers

7 Important Questions for an Aging Parent

 

Do you feel as if you were thrust upon a role for which you are not prepared? You may feel this way if your mom or dad recently had a health crisis, and it landed you in the role of a caregiver. Health emergencies can occur very quickly, and you may feel overwhelmed with your increased responsibility.

If you find yourself in this scenario, and your aging parent is mentally alert enough to have a conversation, it may be time to ask some hard questions. Here are the things you need to know to assist you in your new role as a caregiver.

 

What are your end of life wishes?

If your parent is having a health emergency and is in the hospital, the doctors, nurses, and social workers will probably ask your parent this question for you. The hospital staff will want to know whether your parent would like to be put on a ventilator or feeding tube, should the need arise. Other scenarios will be given to your loved one, and he or she will have to determine when life-saving measures should be used or when they should not.

 

Do you have a durable power of attorney?

Again, if your loved one is in the hospital, the staff has probably already asked your parent this question. They may want to know who they should turn to for assistance with medical decisions if your parent is incapacitated. The medical power of attorney would be the one responsible for making those decisions.

While you are filling out that paperwork, you may ask for assistance with the financial power of attorney paperwork as well. The medical and financial powers of attorney can be the same person, or you can divide up the responsibilities between siblings.

 

Do you have a will? If so, where is it?

Settling your mom’s or dad’s finances will become much harder if he or she passes away without a will. While no one wants to complete this paperwork during a health crisis, it will help you save time and money after your loved one dies.

 

Where are your important papers?

It is relatively common for members of older generations to keep essential documents in safes or safety deposit boxes. Make sure you know the combination for your mom’s or dad’s safe, and the location of the safety deposit box and the key.

 

Do you have long-term care insurance?

Although no one wants to think of this happening, your loved one may be uncommunicative for a time after a stroke or surgery. They may need to spend time in a nursing home before returning to their own homes.

Ask your loved one if he or she has long-term care insurance to help with the cost of these expensive facilities.

 

What bills need to be paid?

If your loved one is spending time in the hospital, you may need to take care of paying household bills. Ask your mom or dad about financial obligations. If you become the financial power of attorney, ask at your parent’s bank whether or not you are able to sign checks on your parent’s behalf.

 

If you can’t go home, where would you like to live?

You and your parent may have to face the realization that things may never be the same again. Your parent may never be strong enough to live on his own, and while he is in the hospital, you may need to spend time making preparations for his eventual release.

Whether your parent will go to a nursing home or move in with you, those decisions and accommodations need to be made sooner rather than later.

 

Featured Image Credit: Stannah International / flickr