Many adults between the ages of 40 and 60 are now falling into the newly coined “sandwich generation”. This is a generation who, for the first time, are having to care for their aging parents and their adult children who may be struggling to find a job or have moved back home. Worry about your children is stressful enough; add the responsibilities of caring for an elderly parent and life can easily become overwhelming. Have the difficult conversations before your aging parents need assistance and creating an advanced caring plan to ease everyone’s minds.
Knowing where to start with these discussions can be difficult. Besides arming your parents with a fire escape plan and a caregiver plan, there are many other topics you need to cover to ensure your parents have exactly what they want as they get older. Use these guidelines to help you have a trusted and productive conversation.
Create an Emergency Response Plan for Aging Parents
This may be one of the toughest talks to have with your aging parents, but it’s important to sit down and discuss their life goals openly and honestly. Know what your parents would like done in an emergency medical situation. Discuss “what if” situations with them, like, what if Dad has a stroke and isn’t physically able to care for himself? or what if Mom falls down and can’t call for help? These are not the most comfortable questions, but they are necessary so that your parents can communicate with you what they want. This way, if anything happens, you will have a plan in place and you will feel more comfortable knowing you are doing exactly what your parents wanted. Have your parents create a living will and put it on file with the local hospitals. Some states, like Montana, have advanced healthcare directives online that you can file once, and they will provide it to all that state’s hospitals.
Create an emergency list of names and phone numbers and put them in your parent’s cell phone, or, if they have a landline, place it within reach. Should anything happen and they need to call for help, make sure they know the shortcut on their phones for dialing 911 (many cell phones have a built-in emergency button on the lock screen). If your parents are elderly and need care, consider hiring a nurse or caretaker to check in on them, or make a plan for you or close friends and family to check in on them daily. If your parents have a history of falling, consider purchasing them a medical alert system so they never have to suffer for a long time alone.
How to Plan Life Goals with Your Parents
Have your parents decide what they want their biggest life goals to be. Would they like to stay active, healthy, and live in their current home? Or are they experiencing issues and want to eventually move to an assisted living facility? If so, when is the time they would consider moving to one? Would they like to stay close to family or specific friends? Do they want to stay in the same area or move to a warmer climate? Discuss transportation, and if they need to be driven to doctor’s appointments, yoga, church, or the supermarket. Don’t be afraid to discuss financial planning and how they plan on paying for housing and medical assistance.
How to Organize Important Papers and Documents
Just like with emergency phone numbers, it’s important to gather your parents’ vital documents in one easily accessible spot. These documents include:
- Address book – including contact information for family members, friends, church, community groups, etc.
- Advanced care plan and/or will
- Birth certificate
- Doctors names and phone numbers
- Funeral, burial and/or cemetery instructions
- Health and insurance cards
- List of medications
- Medical insurance plans and policy numbers
- Organ donor card or information
- Power of attorney documents
- Social insurance/social security number
By having all of the documents gathered in a binder, box, envelope or safe, will make it much easier should you ever need any of this important information. If these documents are locked away, make sure your parents provide you with the passcode or key. At the very least, make sure they at least let you know where you can find it.
Opening up a safe and non-confrontational dialog with your parents can not only help them feel safe and cared for, but also put them at ease about their futures. Completing this checklist will help you feel more organized and in control should any issues come up in the future.
Use Alpha Omega for Your Emergency Preparedness
Contact Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration. With 24/7 emergency response availability, we are there for you. We’ll help assess the situation, mitigate the damage, and restore your rental property back to pre-loss condition. Our professional team of certified, trained, and trusted advisors are experts in the fire damage restoration industry. We’ll provide honest, reliable, high-quality work to help you go back to normal quickly.