As lifespans continue to increase on average, many will be faced with the challenge of caring for an aging loved one. This can seem overwhelming, financially and emotionally. We want to help. This checklist can help you manage the variety of considerations, both as caregiver and care recipient.
Health & well-being
- Work together to identify and document medical professionals, pharmacy, medications and dosages.
- Develop a network of potential caregivers, including family members, friends, neighbors and health- care professionals.
- If the situation warrants, consider purchasing an alert system to call for help in an emergency.
- Discuss sharing access to medical information to ensure HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy laws are met. Without this, a medical provider can't give medical information to anyone other than the patient.
- Research organizations such as the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org), the Caregiver Action Network (www.caregiveraction.org) and the Family Caregiver Alliance (www.caregiver.org).
- If your loved one can continue to live in his or her home, research local social service or faith-based agencies that may assist with volunteer home maintenance or other needs.
- Work together to assess whether your loved one's current living situation is still a good choice with respect to mobility, cost and maintenance issues.
- If your loved one has trouble with stairs or other obstacles, discuss options for improving access and safety.
- Gather information about assisted living facilities and other long-term care options. See the U.S. Administration on Aging's Eldercare Locator at www.eldercare.gov.
- Understand the different levels of care available at senior living centers – independent living, assisted living, nursing care, etc. – to determine the right place for your loved one.
With your loved one's consent, work together with him or her to:
- Review financial records and insurance coverage to get a clear picture of his or her situation.
- Identify a strategy to make financial decisions. Who will handle daily money management? Will a group work together to make larger financial decisions?
- Contact financial institutions and complete forms so those authorized by your loved one can access his or her accounts and safe-deposit box.
- Consider establishing automatic payment of recurring bills.
- Investigate whether local social service agencies can help with heating fuel costs or other financial needs.
- Look into local property tax deferral or abatement programs.
- Establish direct deposit of benefit checks into bank and brokerage accounts.
- Learn about his or her Social Security benefits at www.ssa.gov.
Navigate Medicare, Medicaid and any other health care benefits he or she may be receiving. this may include:
- Medicare resources for caregivers (found at www.medicare.gov/campaigns/caregiver/caregiver.html)
- Learn about Veterans benefits as appropriate (see http://www.va.gov)
- Discuss how he or she will pay for out-of-pocket costs such as premiums, deductibles and other items Medicare doesn't cover.
- Research trust services options to manage expenses, investments and financial paperwork.
- Review the caregiver's life insurance policy to ensure it provides for the care of loved ones in the event that something would happen to the holder.
- Help your loved one locate his or her will, living will, health care or durable power of attorney, and any trusts that may exist. If he or she doesn't have these documents, have your loved one consider setting up any that are appropriate.
- Offer to accompany your loved one to meet with a financial advisor to review savings and investments, including Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) accounts, and life insurance and annuities. Ensure beneficiaries are up-to-date.
- Help locate any documents for prearranged funeral or burial arrangements.
Contact us today
Caring for an aging loved one can be a challenging responsibility, but you don't have to do it on your own. We can help. Talk to your financial advisor
to identify strategies that may work for you.