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What to Discuss with your Aging Parents Before Becoming Their Caregiver

July 31, 2018

It can be overwhelming transitioning as a caregiver for your parent. Seeing your parent in poor health or watching them age is hard. While not easy to do, talking to your parents while they are healthy and younger about their health care decisions will help you honor their wishes when the time comes. End-of-life discussions are harder to have in a time of crisis than before issues have arisen.

Health Care

Ask your parents to gather any important medical documents and make sure the records are kept up to date. Important documents include:

  • Medical & Life Insurance Policies
  • Medicare or Medicaid Cards
  • Medications taken, dosages and costs
  • List of Medical Providers
  • Pharmacy Information

Financial & Legal

Certain financial and legal documents will make it easier for you to navigate you parent’s care and follow their wishes.

  • Create and maintain an up to date will
  • Have a Power of Attorney in place for whom is responsible for sustaining the basic necessities of daily living and making decisions about care.
  • Have a Health Care Power of Attorney assigned for healthcare decisions
  • Setup Health Care Advance Directives regarding their wishes of use for resuscitation or life support. Also give a copy to their primary care physician.
  • Fill out HIPPAA Privacy Release Forms with all of their doctors so that you have full access to their medical records

End-of-Life Care

Another important piece to discuss is extended care. At some point health care needs might be more than what you are able to provide. Consider all options: in home care, nursing homes, palliative care and decide what options would work best for you both. By agreeing to arrangements ahead of time your feelings of guilt should be less. Discuss all of your parents’ end-of-life care wishes so when the time comes the plan is easier to put in play.

These can be extremely difficult conversations to have but when you become a caregiver it is important to have and will help make any decisions/care easier. Be sure that documents are updated frequently or as things change.

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