“Professionals Caring for Aging Parents” was the topic of the One Zone Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network September 23 meeting at The Bridgewater Club. Topics of the discussion, moderated by Ellen Dunnigan of Accent on Business, included:
- methods for decreasing the stress and complexities of caregiving by adult children
- maximizing the quality of life for an aging parent
- knowing when, where, and how to access important resources
As the Indiana elder law attorney panelist, Rebecca Geyer was asked what legal documents were important to have in place related to caring for one’s aging parents. She explained that the two most important documents are:
- Durable Power of Attorney, which gives someone else the right to handle financial transactions on your behalf (this document does not take away your rights to act for yourself)).
- Advance Directive for Healthcare, which allows someone to choose caregivers, have you admitted to/discharged from the hospital, and decide to withhold near-death treatment.
Geyer stressed that in neither case is the individual signing the document giving up his or her right to act on his/her own behalf; the documents need to be put in place in the event an illness or accident causes unexpected incapacity.
No one wants to think about the possibility of not being able to care for themselves. However, there may come a time when, due to injuries, illnesses, or simply the effects of age and time, people become unable to make decisions or specify their wishes to their health care providers and loved ones.
“Just-in-case” information adult children can ask their parents to provide include the names and contact information of all their physicians, plus a list of medications parents are taking, Rebecca Geyer suggests. And, with so many seniors now having online accounts, parents’ legal documents need to allow for password resets, she cautions. Language that needs to be included in estate planning documents gives lawful consent to providers to divulge electronic communications to the correct people.
Asked about adult children with parents who reside outside of Indiana, Geyer explained that she maintains contact with professionals in all 50 states.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team