Planning for Aging Parents

Watching a parent becoming increasingly dependent on others for the normal activities of daily life can be difficult. It can be even harder for the parent to admit needing help. Creating a plan for how your parent(s), family and parents’ medical professionals will handle that possible scenario can alleviate misunderstanding and confusion when a crisis arises.

Here are 5 tips to prepare for parents’ aging:

  1. Decide on a point of contact – one sibling/close relative should be in charge of communicating with doctors. This person should have a health care proxy for the parent.
  2. Find a family-friendly primary care physician. An elderly parent may receive care from multiple specialists. With your parents, decide on one doctor to be the primary medical resource. Make sure reports from specialists are sent to the primary care physician.
  3. Create a central storage place for vital documents, including medical records, Social Security number and health insurance policy information. Hard copies should be duplicated and stored in at least 2 fire- and water-proof locations. Digital imaging/storage services offer a convenient place to access files remotely.
  4. Nursing home costs continue to rise faster than inflation and can quickly deplete the parents’ assets. If the parents qualify for underwriting, purchasing a policy can help safe-guard your savings from the parents’ health-care expenses in the future.
  5. Discuss finances – the point of contact relative, or another relative equipped to deal with financial matters, should have a durable power of attorney. This person should know the location of key accounts and policies, and the names and phone numbers for key advisors.