Sometimes we caregivers, in spite of our everyday struggles, live in denial about the future – our own and that of our loved one. There are things we know we should think about but we don’t want to. Maybe we are just procrastinating or perhaps those things are difficult enough that we don’t want to face them today, tomorrow or ever.
Possibly the most critical thing is to have a properly prepared power of attorney both for health care and financial decisions. You may not need it at this moment but things can change suddenly and you may find yourself in a position of needing a power of attorney and not be prepared. Although forms for both of these items are found online or a stationery store, it may be best to have them prepared professionally to conform to laws of your particular state.
Another important item is a will. If you already have a will in place, be sure that the circumstances in your life now match the provisions of your will – in other words, make sure it is current. It is also a very good idea to prepare a listing (including locations) of all your financial items such as insurance, bank accounts, and other assets as well as obligations like regular bills. Let a trusted family member know where to find that list and your will if it should be needed.
Depending on the health of your loved one, decisions such as living arrangements may need to be made. Assisted living, a nursing home, or living with a family member are all possibilities to contemplate. If you are beginning to consider such options, look around at the types of facilities available, their cost, and which option would be the best fit for your loved one. It might also be a good idea to discuss your options with an attorney specializing in elder law who can advise you of financial options for your area.
If moving in with a family member is what you decide, be sure to put things such as duties, financial expectations and other concerns in writing to avoid later problems and misunderstandings.
The most difficult thing to deal with is the ultimate eventuality – death. It may be advisable to start thinking now about options such as burial, cremation, memorial service wishes or purchasing a cemetery plot. You may even wish to purchase a special insurance policy specifically designed to cover those costs.
Actually sitting down and taking care of these things may be difficult but consider the relief you will feel knowing you are prepared.
Sallie can be reached at [email protected]