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{ } AGING with an Attitude The New Baby Boomer Challenge? T he Baby Boomers disrupted history and challenged tradition with their ideas for social change. They had answers for many things…but now face challenges few could have anticipated –caring for aging parents who are living much longer and in some cases dealing with dementia and other issues yet to be understood. Recently, a handsome man in his late 50s walked into our office. “I can handle my corporation through its ups and downs, I raised four boys, but this deal with Mom, I don’t know how to handle,” he said. The stress of dealing with a feisty mother who wouldn’t share critical information had taken its toll. In a previous article, I explored what one can do after the doctor says “your parent needs help, or they cannot continue to live alone.” In this article let’s look at ways to ease the strain and make your parents’ aging journey easier on everyone. The best time to talk about the later years is when Mom and Dad still feel good; when talking about the time they will need help is not yet a sore subject. It does not matter how much you have adored your parents, most seniors worry about being “put in a home” even though they have heard of country club lifestyles at places like Merrill Gardens or Westmont. Even if the ideal time has passed, having the discussion is critical to ensuring that you will be able to provide the care your parents’ need and their wishes will be under- stood and respected. Key information to gather in your discussion: • Who are your parents’ medical providers? Physician, Specialists, Dentist, etc. • What medications do they take? Their doctors will have a record of prescribed medications, but in case of emergency, you should have it too. By Dorie U. Sugay • What insurance coverages do they have in place? Do they have Long Term Care Insurance? LTC insurance can fi nance a good portion of inhome health, which isn’t covered under Medicare or traditional medical plans. Dorie Sugay is the Executive Director of Visiting Angels, a company that provides living-assistance services to seniors and adults-in-need who wish to stay in their own home or receive one-on-one care within a facility. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It was written independently of Visiting Angels. 78 • What bank accounts do they have in place? If you’re not listed as a co- signer on their accounts, encourage your parents to take this step so you’ll have access to their funds and be prepared to ensure their healthcare needs are paid for if and when you need to take on this role. Do they have any outstanding debts or loans? Is it time to consoli- date debt into one credit card account, simplifying the payment process? It may be time for you to monitor their fi nanc- GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MARCH/APRIL 2016 es to ensure their bills are paid on time or to assume full responsibility for bill- paying. Remind them that unattended banking and credit card accounts are vulnerable to cybercrime. • Is there a safe in the house, or a safe deposit box at a bank? If so, ensure that only trusted family or guardians have access to the safe. Services such as Visiting Angels typically prefer that their caregivers not be involved in their clients’ fi nances. • Do your parents own real estate property, and if so, where are their real estate papers? Who is their mortgage lender, and their insurance provider? Depending on their fi nances it may make sense for them to apply for a reverse mortgage. Do your parents have a tax accountant, an investment advisor? If so, fi nd out whose services they use and talk with them about their taxes and retirement accounts. • Do they own any vehicles, and if so, where do they keep the title? Are they leasing, or paying off car loans? • Have your parents made an inventory and taken pictures of their valuables? These records are important in estate planning and distribution as well as insurance issues. Do your parents have a law fi rm of record? You should be aware of who your parents have named as executor of their estate, and if they have an up-to-date Living Will & Trust. • If Mom or Dad is a military veteran— where are their papers? The VA pays for inhome health service. Through Aid and Attendance pensions, your parents may be eligible for funds. • Ask your parents about passports, Medicare and other health I.D. cards and tax returns as well as social security cards and statements. • Ask your parents to provide you with their list of close friends and their contact information. Get a little context about their relationships with these people. • Do they have a MedicAlert? Where is their ID number kept? (If a parent has dementia, consider getting them a Safe Return/Silver Alert, and providing other family members with their ID number.) • Ask your parents if it is their wish to remain at home (possibly with a Health Aide assisting) or move to an independent or assistedliving facility? Continued on page 83