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Caregiving for Parents Part II – Preparing For Future Challenges

By
Matt Meline

, CFP®

Founder and CEO

Wednesday, June 30, 2021
“Getting older is not for sissies!” – a very honest PrairieFire client and friend

We received a number of informative comments and thoughts from all of you after Part I of this three part series on caregiving. Caregiving involves difficult decisions. Many times these challenges can catch us unprepared. Some of the comments we received included:

“One of my consistent messages to dad has been that he’s always been a planner and all this is part of planning for his old old-age. And as he aged and we put some more things in place, my message was that this was part of the plan, just putting things in place so that they’re there if and when we need them. And now that we’re there, the message is that I’m so grateful for his planning because it’s made it so easy for me to give him the support and assistance he needs now. It has been a journey….”

“The role reversal, even for just a short time, is sobering. I am still healthy and capable of handling most things, but I now value advice from my girls.“

Thank you so much for the feedback, please keep it coming.

Recently we have been helping clients sort through their own estate planning documents like trusts, wills and powers of attorney. This is an important step in your journey. It’s also a vital component of caregiving for your family. Find out if your loved one has prepared estate planning documents and ensure that their will and power of attorney are up to date.

We frequently hear horror stories about famous celebrities that die without any estate documents and the subsequent piling on of greedy heirs. In practice I have seen families emotionally disintegrate because of estate disputes. It can sometimes bring out the worst instincts in people and create lifelong resentments. A great solution is to help your loved one document their after-life wishes. Helping them find, and potentially participate in, the meetings with an estate planning attorney are important first steps.

Another tip is to keep financial documents organized and accessible. Many times a will has been written, but no one can find it! We found my grandfather’s will and pockets of cash in the baseboards of his closet. A grandchild saw him sneak some cash out of the closet at one time and tipped us off to his potential stash. Important documents should not only be reviewed and updated, but kept in a secure and accessible place.

Understanding our loved ones preferences for receiving care is also vital. Is it important to them to not be a burden to their children. Are they okay with living in an assisted living or nursing home? If they prefer to stay in their home, are they open to partnering for in-home care?

Another option is to ask your loved one to write a letter expressing their desires and reasons for them. A personal letter may remind you of the sentiment behind your loved one’s wishes.

The issues are emotional. They are also opening the door to the inevitable and this can be very difficult to face. There is not a topic that I find my clients and friends procrastinate greater than a life insurance review and estate planning deep dive. Hopefully we can take the time to dust off these plans for ourselves and our families. We would enjoy the opportunity to help.

Be well,

Matt

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