Who will be their caregiver when they need help?
How will they pay for their long-term care?
Will you have to pay for their care?
Even if they have long-term care insurance, will it be enough?
What benefits are available? Veteran’s benefits? Medicaid?
Are their estate-planning documents valid and up to date?
Do you know where everything is and who to contact?
Are they spending money frivolously or giving it away?
Are there any siblings who might create friction in the future?
Do you know your parents’ end of life wishes?
How much time do you have, really, to devote to caregiving?
All valid questions to consider. The 50 year-old daughter is often confronted with these questions at a time in her life when she is also enjoying graduations, weddings, new grandchildren. With proper advance planning, her new role as caregiver can be accomplished with a minimum of stress. Unfortunately most families simply learn the hard way, making expensive mistakes as they go. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
There is a network of professionals in every large city like Birmingham, Alabama, who serve the needs of the senior population and their family caregivers. This network includes Elder Law attorneys, CPAs, Home Health agencies, real estate professionals, durable medical equipment providers and contractors. It makes sense to tap into that network, because each of these people have already been where you now find yourself. Building your own network of providers can help you from having to learn everything the hard way. Each of these people also know others who serve the senior community, so when you connect with one of them, your potential for finding other services increases exponentially.
It has been said that “we don’t know what we don’t know”. In terms of caring for seniors, we often don’t realize that there is often a right way and many wrong ways to care for them. By building your own network of advisors, you can minimize the risks of wasting your parents’ resources and wasting your own precious time. If you are a caregiver already or if you think you might become one in the near future, contact one of these professionals soon. There is no reason to go it alone when there is help available.
-William G. Nolan is an Elder Law attorney and founding partner of Nolan Elder Law and Estate Planning, LLC, an elder law and estate planning law firm in Birmingham, Alabama.