The Christmas and Holiday season provides you a unique opportunity to perform a “wellness check” on your aging loved ones. With our busy and sometimes hectic work and family schedules we may not have the chance to adequately assess or evaluate whether a loved one needs assistance. No worries, the Holiday season is an excellent time to pull up a chair and have the “Can We Talk?” conversation with aging parents, aunt, uncle, neighbor or any senior in your life to see how they are doing. Seniors can be proud, independent and private and often feel they do not want to bother their family with their woes. Let them know you care and offer your help in any way. They’ll appreciate it!
It is never easy to see our parents or loved ones age. It can be more challenging to help a parent or loved one who is living alone. The Christmas Holiday Season is an excellent time of year to catch up with family to celebrate the holiday with good food and cheer. Christmas Holiday Season is also a very good time of year to conduct a ‘Wellness Check’ on our aging parents or loved ones to see if they need any help. Typically aging parents or loved ones do not want to give up their independence, or discontinue driving a car or stop living alone. We can help them in other ways and these are some things to watch for this holiday season:
•Driving habits and possible fender benders on their automobile;
•Bills and mail stacking up at the house;
•Prescription medications unfilled or in disarray;
•Forgetfulness and repeating the same stories;
•Need assistance in managing finances;
•Overspending on frivolous shopping items, excessive online shopping or shopping channels on television;
•Credit card offers in the mail;
•Donations made to questionable charities or organizations;
•Other family members, friends or neighbors borrowing money;
•Hygiene and ability to care for oneself;
•Difficulties with grocery shopping or canceling doctor’s appointments.
There may be other behaviors or areas of concern that you notice on your holiday visit. Consider a calm and purposeful talk with your aging parent or loved one. Let them know you care and you are interested in helping them. Offer assistance or provide them resources to make things easier for them. Get together with other caring family members to share your concerns and brainstorm on appropriate solutions and services.
Also, with the cold weather upon us make sure the heat is working well in the house and the oil tank is filled up for them. Check to ensure adequate lighting throughout the house. They should have good railings on stairwells and consider taking up the thresholds in doorways to prevent trip and fall accidents. Don’t forget to ask how old their eyeglasses may be. Sometimes a prescription change is needed and it has been years since they visited an eye doctor.
Sometimes, just asking how they are doing or how they are feeling will start a conversation about their health and the challenges they have been experiencing.
Disability planning is one of the most overlooked areas in estate planning. Make sure that your senior loved one has updated legal documents, such as, Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney, Living Will and HIPPA Authorization, to name a few. We recommend that these documents are updated annually to avoid an expensive trip to Probate Court for a Guardianship and Conservatorship.
Lastly, check with your town Council on Aging, elder services and Meals on Wheels programs in your community for ideas and services.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation please call Attorney Patrick Kelleher at 781-871-PLAN (7526) or by email at Pat@myfamilylifeplan.com
Our firm helps families taking care of them for life. We not only “create” their Will and Trust, but we “maintain it and keep it updated” for them throughout their life! The meter is not running for our ‘Client Care Plan’ members!
Patrick J. Kelleher is a South Shore, MA resident and estate planning attorney serving and protecting families and businesses in the South Shore, MA area. For more information on estate planning visit our firm’s website at www.MyFamilyLifePlan.com where you can check out our Blog, free Newsletter library, free Estate Planning Channel on Youtube and sign up for a Free e-Newsletter!
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This article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice or create or imply an attorney-client relationship. This article is for educational and informational purposes. No information contained herein is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney.