Caring For Our Elderly Parents
Taking care of an elderly parent or grandparent is something that many of us deal with on a frequent basis. As Americans live longer, this is becoming more and more common. Dealing with our parent's care can be very emotional and difficult when problems arise.
A Minnesota Family
Let me tell you about a married couple in Apple Valley. We'll call them Ben and Jennifer. Ben has a father, we'll call him Albert, who lives on the old family farm near Glencoe.
Once a week, Ben goes out to visit Albert and see how things are going on the farm. Both men enjoy these visits and it has been a very enjoyable tradition that they keep. However, recently Ben has noticed that Albert's memory has started to fade.
Dad Shows Signs of Needing Help
First it was the day Albert called and asked Ben where the lawn mower was. Ben told him it was kept in the shed, where it has been stored for years. A few weeks later, Albert called Ben wondering where his fishing pole was. Ben reminded him that he had gotten rid of that when he sold his boat 4 years ago. When Ben and Jennifer came to visit that Saturday, Jennifer noticed that Albert's weekly pill box was full and had not been touched. Ben became worried when Jennifer pulled him aside and told him about it.
How To Help Dad
During a time like this, Ben is wise to be concerned about his father's health. Here are some things Ben can do to help his father:
First, talk to neighbors about keeping an eye on Albert. It may even be a good idea to get a PCA or Personal Care Attendant to visit Dad several times a week.
Ben and Jennifer may also talk it over with Albert and look into an assisted living apartment or a nursing home if he can't live at all on his own.
It is a good idea to create a Health Care Directive (also known as a Living Will) so Ben can make medical decisions for Albert when he is unable to make them on his own. The Health Care Directive should also contain a Federal HIPAA authorization so that other members of the family, such as Jennifer, can get medical updates from his physician and clinic.
Under certain conditions, it may even be a good idea to have Dad taken care of through a guardianship or the provisions of a trust. For these you should call an experienced estate planning attorney.
Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. He can help you plan for the future by creating a Minnesota Estate Plan. For more information, please visit http://www.mnestateplan.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.
The contents of this article are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.