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Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please!: How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents

If you’re amongst the millions of baby boomers who is or wll be caring for an aging loved one, the Following  will prove to be an absolutely critical resource:
The Ultimate Caregiver’s Success System

Beyond Driving with DignityThe workbook for the families of older drivers

Knowing you are not alone
can be a great help

Stuck in the Middle: Shared Stories And Tips For Caregiving Your Elderly Parents

Could you use a guide that explains the Assisted Living maze?

Check out Ryan Malone's Book

The By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living: A Step-by-Step Guide to Evaluating and Transitioning to an Assisted Living Community

Carolyn Rosenblatt has authored this great series on senior issues.

The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents: The Complete Guide

David Solie has authored this great book on geriatric and intergenerational communication:

How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders

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Family ... End of Life Issues

Writing Your Will Is Not Enough

by Lynette Benton,  Polish and Publish

Ah. You’re feeling proud of yourself. You’ve made your will and told your relatives where to find it. You’re patting yourself on the back for your foresight and a job well done. You’re entitled to a satisfied sigh of relief—aren’t you?

Well . . . not quite yet.

Making your will might have resulted from a medical scare. But what if you survive that health crisis and “only” become disabled, even temporarily? Does your family or caretaker have everything they need to oversee your care and keep your household running while you’re incapacitated?

Before my mother suffered a debilitating stroke, she refused (as had her mother and aunts before her) to tell anyone where she kept her important papers. She wouldn’t tell her children, of whom I am the middle one, how much money she had, nor what banks it was in. She didn’t give any of us power of attorney. My father had been dead for decades and she didn’t share this information with him either.

When, at the age of 75, she was admitted to a rehabilitation facility near her home in New York, her condition was serious. Though she could sit up, she could neither write nor speak. Now it was too late; she didn’t have the ability to give us the information we had asked for over decades.

My siblings and I lived several states away from our mother; thank goodness one of us had keys to her house. But, we didn’t know what kind of health insurance she had—besides Medicare and a supplemental policy—and that became an important issue. Her Medicare rehab coverage would run out after 100 days in the rehab facility. What if she needed continued in-patient therapy?

My husband, my brother, and I rolled up our sleeves and dug though manila envelopes and file cabinets in our search for critical documents at Mom’s house—while the clock ticked and the months passed. In the meantime, since we didn’t have access to her money and she couldn’t sign checks, I assumed the burden of carrying her household expenses, in addition to my own. It was fortunate that my husband and I had the resources to do that, but I knew we couldn’t continue to cover her miscellaneous medical bills, utilities, and sundry other household bills indefinitely. Then, when her house was burglarized, we couldn’t find any proof of home insurance, although I knew she had it.

My mother had neither planned for her disability nor shared the information her caretakers needed.

The results of my mother’s secrecy were calamitous, and I describe them in my work-in-progress, My Mother’s Money: A Memoir of Suspense. As a result of my experiences caring for an elderly parent, without the information or financial resources I needed, I have learned some lessons that I’ve put in practice for myself. I want to share them with MaturityMatters.net readers.

  • Talk to those who will be responsible for your care.
  • Tell them where your important papers are and the names and locations of your banks.
  • Give them the key to your safe deposit box.
  • Make arrangements to allow your caretakers to have immediate access to your money to pay for your care and keep your household running.
  • Assign power of attorney to someone you trust.
  • Be clear about how you want your money to be spent if you become ill. If you want to remain in your own home after being discharged from a medical facility, for example, give your caretakers permission in advance to hire the household help you might need.
  • Make your wishes known. What is your preferred hospital or rehab facility, should you need these?
  • Don’t make your caretakers have to invest precious time and money on an attorney to gain conservatorship over you and your affairs.

My mother had always assured my sister, my brother, and me that she had enough money for her declining years. But what good was it when she was to ill to gain access to it, and we had no legal authority to touch it—even to help her?

Lynette Benton is a published writer and writing instructor who specializes in helping boomers and seniors write about their lives individually and in classes. She is the author of Polish and Publish, an interactive booklet for writers. You can follow her on Twitter @lynettebenton.

Getting mom to exercise it’s about keeping it relative

As a teacher of movement and balance exercises for seniors in Independent and assisted living center, I run across a good number of seniors who are used to sitting and doing nothing during the course of a normal day. I find this to be true also of most over 80 seniors who are home bound. […]

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