Expect the Unexpected: Advice for Adults with Aging Parents

Nobody has a crystal ball that will tell us who will have a sudden or chronic illness, an accident or injury and when these things might occur. So as we watch our loved ones age, be proactive and get prepared.

Here are some important and practical things to know and do so that when/if a crisis hits, you will be better equipped to make decisions in a fast-paced stressful situation.

  1. Find out what health insurance coverage is in place and make copies of the front and back of insurance cards. Make sure there is a secondary policy and RX plan, and that premiums are being paid.
  2. Get educated about what Medicare covers and what it does not. Medicare.gov has all of this information.
  3. Make a list of medications, health conditions, and current doctors. Keep a list with you and also have one posted in the home that is easy to find.
  4. Make sure there is a current HIPPA Release on file with all medical providers so they can speak to you. List yourself as emergency contact.
  5. Research resources in the area that are providers in homecare, assisted living or aging in place resources if needed in the future.
  6. Have the talk about finances to know what resources would be available if/when care is needed. Learn what income and savings/investments are available. Long-term, custodial care is not covered by medical insurance. Only by Long Term Care insurance. If there is a policy, know what the benefit is and how to activate the policy.
  7. Review legal documents to know if there is a Power of Attorney document and Healthcare Representative designated. If there is not, meet with an attorney as soon as possible, before there is a healthcare crisis.
  8. Know what your loved ones wishes are for treatment and medical interventions. Open up this sometimes difficult topic so that if you are in the position of making important decisions you can do so on behalf of your loved one. This is much easier if you have this conversation ahead of time and explore different scenarios and what they would want you to do or not do.


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