It’s hard to think about our parents aging, but being prepared can ease the stress and make difficult decisions go more smoothly. Being able to make choices about the continued care of your parents while they still have the cognitive abilities to express their wishes is the first step. Use these questions to start the discussion every adult child should have with his or her parents. They were compiled by expert advice from Corey Vallandingham, marketing director of Springhurst Pines, and Kelly Gannott, elder law attorney. You might want to think about these questions for yourself as well.
1. Who do you want to handle things if you are unable to handle them yourself?
“It’s important to know who your parents want to handle their finances or health care decisions if they are not able to anymore,” Gannott says. “It may be you, your sibling, or someone totally different. It’s important to designate this person before decisions need to be made. Also, always have a backup person just in case the first person that was designated is unable to make the decisions.”
2. Do you have a power of attorney document in place? Can that power of attorney create a trust?
“So many people wait too long to get a power of attorney document in place,” Gannott says. “If someone is in the nursing home and they apply for Medicaid, Medicaid may make them have a trust. A qualified income trust is set up for those whose income exceeds the eligibility criteria for receiving Medicaid. The income that exceeds eligibility will go into the trust and can be used for nursing home costs. If the power of attorney document doesn’t allow the power of attorney to create a trust, they may never get Medicaid.”
3. At what point do you feel it would be time to move into an assisted living facility, nursing home, or retirement community? Would it be when it is hard to make meals? Do housework? No longer perform proper hygiene?
“Everyone wants to stay at home, and that is the goal, but what is your parents’ idea of when it’s time to leave home?” Gannott says. “This is important to know so that when the time comes, you can remind your parents of what they said and see if they still agree with making the move.”
Read more in our winter issue of Today’s Transitions.