David Lerner Associates: National Family Caregivers Month

David Lerner Associates: National Family Caregivers Month

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2014-12-03

As National Family Caregivers month draws to a close this week, David Lerner Associates takes a look at the ways to prepare, in case you have to be a family caregiver in the future.

Taking care of your aging parents means helping them prepare for the future, and this could be frustrating, both physically and emotionally. When the time comes for you to take care of your parents, you may be certain of only two things: Your parents need you, and you need help.

Speak with your parents about the future

Start taking care of your aging parents by talking with them about their needs and wishes if they are able. Sometimes, however, they may not be willing to speak with you regarding their future, either because they are afraid to face it or because they resent your interference. If this is the case, you may have to do as much planning as you can without them, or, if their safety or health is in danger, intervene as caregiver anyhow.

Prepare a personal data record

The initial step you must have is to ask your parents to assist you prepare a personal data record (if they are unable to assist you, you'll need to look for the information yourself). A personal data record is a document that lists information that you might need in the event your parents become incapacitated or die. Information that should be incorporated is financial information, legal information, medical information, insurance information, and information regarding professional advisors and the location of important records.

Example(s): When Marcia and her mother prepared a personal data record, Marcia realized that her mother did not have a resilient power of attorney or health care proxy in case she became incapacitated and could not make decisions about her medical care. The next day, Marcia made an appointment with her mother's lawyer to discuss this issue.

Get advice

You cannot know everything, and you most likely don't have enough time to discover every little thing you need to know to care for your parents. That's why you should seek advice from professionals. Some advice will be free, and some you will need to pay for. If you live far from your parents or are too overwhelmed to handle all your parents' affairs, you can hire a geriatric care manager who will evaluate your parents' condition, suggest options, and coordinate professionals who can help. Additionally, talk to your employer. Some companies have established employee assistance programs that offer guidance and assistance to people who are handling personal challenges, including taking care of aging parents.

Get support

Don't try to care for your parents alone. Many local and national caregiver support groups and community services are offered to assist you deal with taking care of your aging parents. If you don't know where to start finding help, call the Eldercare Locator, an information and referral service sponsored by the federal government that can direct you to resources available nationally or in your area. Call the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116.

Housing and health care advice

If your parents are like many older individuals, where they live will depend upon how healthy they are. As your parents grow older, their health may deteriorate so much that they can no longer live on their own. At this point, you may need to find them in-home health care or health care within a retirement community or nursing home. On the other hand, you may want them to move in with you. In addition, you will need information on managing the cost of health care, long-term care insurance, major medical insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Resources:

  • National Association for Home Care
  • Visiting Nurse Associations of America
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration)
  • American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • Health Insurance Association of America

Financial advice

If your parents need help managing their finances, you may need to contact professionals whose advice both you and your parents can trust, including one or more of the following individuals or organizations.

  • Your financial planner
  • Your banker
  • Your investment counselor
  • Your tax attorney
  • The Social Security Administration

Legal advice

Legal advisors can help you plan for your parents' incapacity (including preparing documents such as power of attorneys, medical directives, and living wills), contact nursing home ombudsmen, set up and keep track of guardianship, prep wills, give tax advice, and provide bill payment and representative payee assistance. Many states provide funds for the delivery of free legal services to the elderly and many attorneys specialize in elder law, so finding legal advice shouldn't be difficult.

Resources:

  • Your attorney
  • National Association of State Units on Aging
  • American Bar Commission on the Legal Problems of the Elderly
  • Legal Counsel for the Elderly

 Taking care of family members can take a toll.  Being well-prepared in case you have to take on this extra responsibility can help lessen the load.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities. 

David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Some of this material has been provided by Broadridge Investor Communications Solutions, Inc.

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Tags: National Family Caregivers Month, David Lerner Associates, Advice, Support, Health Care, Housing, Resources, Financial Advice, Investment Counselor, Financial Planner,

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About

Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Cal 516-921-4200 Visit our website: http://www.davidlerner.com

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