Caring for Aging Parents: Ten Things You Need to Know Now

One of our Gals, Susan Valoff, has been a social worker for 14 years and now is a partner in a privately owned company, Eldercare Guides.  In July, Susan presented helpful information about caring for your aging parents.  (I posted her agenda at the end of this blog.)

Many of us are in our 40s so our parents are near to old age, or already there.  But, no matter your age or the age of your parents, its important to have proactive discussions with your parents so you can be supportive and help them plan ahead.  High end assisted living care can cost as much as $8,000 per month, so its better to plan ahead!

Susan pointed out a couple of discussion tools such as “The 5 Wishes” and the POLST form.  She recommends that the children become detectives and ask questions.  “What is that medication?” “How is your health?”  “What do you think about what you want for end of life?” “Did you meet with an estate planner?”  Etc., Etc.

Pieces of information you can easily keep about your parents include knowing their health insurance plan and knowing their neighbors names and phone numbers.  It is also a good idea to know their doctor’s contact info.

Thanks to Susan for being so thorough and well prepared.  You can reach her at 619-450-4300 or svaloff@eldercareguides.com with more questions or to hire her company to assist your family.  Susan’s agenda and reference list follows below.

Caring for Your Aging Parents:
Ten Things You Need to Know Now

Susan Valoff, LCSW, C-ASWCM
Vice President, Clinical Services, Elder Care Guides

1. It’s OK to ask!
Now is the time to learn more about your parents’ health conditions, medications, legal documents, and support system.

2. Estate planning is critical to avoid future legal, financial and family problems.

3. Money matters when it comes to long-term care planning.

4. Caregiving: you can do it alone, but you don’t have to. In fact, it’s better if you don’t!

5. Alzheimer’s disease is not just a memory problem: be able to recognize the early signs of dementia.

6. There are benefits out there for veterans, but you need to ask.

7. Medicare, Medi Cal and HMOs — know the insurance basics for seniors.

8. Ramps, grab bars and raised toilet seats – home safety and accessibility prevents injury and hospitalization.

9. “Levels of Care”: familiarize yourself with the facility options of skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living and dementia care.

10. Help them do what they love – purposeful activity increases elders’ longevity and quality of life.

Some Resources

Alzheimer’s/Dementia:
Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org
George G. Glenner Family Alzheimer’s Center, San Diego www.alzheimerhelp.org

Caregiver Stress:
Family Caregiver Alliance www.caregiver.org
Southern Caregiver Resource Center, San Diego www.caregivercenter.org

Geriatric Care Management:
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers: www.caremanager.org
Elder Care Guides, San Diego: www.eldercareguides.com

Estate Planning:
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys www.aaepa.com
National Association of Elder Law Attorneys www.naela.org

Long-Term Care:
Elder Care Locator www.eldercare.gov
Medicare Nursing Home Compare www.medicare.gov/nhcompare
Jody Hubbard, Long-Term Care Insurance Services www.jodyhubbard.com
A Place for Mom www.aplaceformom.com

Veterans’ Benefits:
Veterans Benefits Administration  www.vba.va.gov
San Diego County Office of Veterans Services  http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/programs/ais/veterans_services/

Medicare/Medi-Cal:
Medicare www.medicare.gov
California Health Advocates/HICAP: http://www.cahealthadvocates.org/HICAP/

Fall Prevention:
Mayo Clinic  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fall-prevention/HQ00657

Purposeful Activity:
The Eden Alternative www.edenalt.org
What are Old People For? (Book by Dr. William Thomas)

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