Preparation is the Key to Successful Elder CareWhen considering the needs of your aging parents, preparation is indeed key. Growing up, my mom had a cartoon cut-out from The Philadelphia Inquirer of “Dilbert” on our refrigerator that read: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It was not until years later that I learned these were the wise words of Benjamin Franklin. Regardless of the source, this was a mantra often repeated in our household and remains with me today.

If these last few months have taught us anything, it is that preparation is key. This time of year typically brings catchy back-to-school commercials of parents dancing down the school-supply aisle knowing that school will resume in just a few weeks. With the transition to more parents working from home and virtual learning, this year looks much different for the typically excited parents. Due to the current pandemic, the sandwich generation is faced with new challenges while maintaining a full-time job, managing the needs of young children, and caring for their aging loved ones at home.

Our office strives to prepare adult children and caregivers for both the expected and unexpected.

While looking down road ahead with an aging parent, please consider some following items:

  1. Evaluate your parent’s safety in their home; consider a home-safety assessment of the current lay-out to promote their safety in the home and minimize the risk for a fall and subsequent hospitalization.
  2. Have a conversation with your parents to understand their current financial status should their situation change.
  3. Schedule an appointment with an elder law attorney to ensure that all their estate documents, such as her healthcare and financial powers of attorney, advanced directives, and last will and testament are in place to avoid any crises later.
  4. Understand your loved one’s health insurance and have copies of their health insurance cards readily available. Note: the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period opens October 15, 2020. Consider a health insurance review with a broker to ensure your loved one’s current coverage is adequate.
  5. Keep a list of your parent’s current medications and routine specialists. Consider utilizing tele-medicine if offered by the physician’s office to stay up to date with their medical needs.
  6. Ensure your loved one has access to help during emergency situations, such as an unexpected fall. Consider implementing an emergency response system or a cellphone with pre-set emergency contacts. Have a back-up plan in place of potential short-term rehab communities if appropriate upon discharge.
  7. Divide up of caregiving responsibilities among siblings or other professional resource, like non-medical home care.
  8. Understand options available for long-term care should their situation change, including assisted living, nursing home, home care (medical and non-medical), and hospice.

When considering the needs of your aging parents, preparation is indeed key. Please browse our website for resources in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey to support you.

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