By Chris Palmer
Caring for an elderly parent is not just about fulfilling their daily wants and needs. You have to be sure you’ve sorted out certain details, which include a few legal matters. Since they’re your parents, you hopefully have a strong connection with them, and they’ll be comfortable discussing the following issues with you. The key is doing so while they’re still healthy.
Talk to them and try to understand their perspective. You may discuss the items they want you or your siblings to inherit, e.g., personal property, land or any business holdings. The subject of inheritance is a very sensitive one and requires everyone’s complete attention.
You may never know what life has waiting for you or your parents, so always plan ahead. Getting your mother or father a supplemental insurance plan might be the best thing you can do! Without one, your family could be responsible for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars of medical expenses not covered by Medicare. Prescription costs alone make this kind of plan an essential for nearly every senior or disabled person.
Do your parents have any income other than Social Security? If one or both of your parents have a retirement pension, know the value and whether it will be enough to cover their living expenses.
Taxes are another inevitability. Are your parents filing their taxes annually or do they owe any back taxes? Be sure they’re filing on time and tracking any deductible expenses. Medical costs can add up quickly, and could reduce your parents’ overall taxes owed if high enough.
If your parents have any credit cards or loans in their name, you’ll want to be sure they’re keeping up with the monthly payments. The same goes for everyday utilities, such as a cell phone. If not, find out where they stand and if steps need to be taken to negotiate a reduced payment schedule. Constantly calling creditors can spoil your loved one’s quality of life… and potentially ruin their ability to get much-needed services, transportation or even housing, down the road.
Strive to avoid confrontation and offer concrete strategies if the money situation isn’t what you expected. It’s all about making your loved one feel a little more safe and secure.
With a clear understanding of everything from insurance to an attendance allowance (if you live in the UK), you’ll be better able to help your elderly parents with their day-to-day lives. After all, putting the “house in order” today will reduce stress and worry for everyone tomorrow.
Chris Palmer regularly shares advice on dementia and supporting your elderly parent. You can find more by Chris by visiting https://www.agespace.org/.