There comes a time in life when we as children need to have “that talk” with our parents and hope to get the best response that will help them. So many times, illnesses strike and in the worse way too, so they end up tipping out earlier than usual. As they get older, are you aware of the relevant legal documentation you need to have in place should anything happen? Also, how are their future medical plans – will everything be ok in case an emergency strikes? There are a lot of questions to Ask Aging Parents.
Well, either way, there are some questions you may need to ask your parents while they are still able to communicate effectively.
Top Ten Questions To Ask Aging Parents
After all, memory loss illnesses like Alzheimer’s are a terrible thing and most times come on unexpectedly so while you can, here are some questions to ask your parents as they get older…
1. Do You Have a Durable Power of Attorney?
With a power of attorney, they permit someone to trust who will take care of all their affairs should anything happen to them. Every so often, when they get old, they become incapacitated and cannot make stable decisions on their own.
A power of attorney does not have to apply to one person as they can designate someone to look after their health decisions and one to look after their financial decisions (health and financial proxies, respectively). Also, one person may do both.
2. What are Your End-of-Life Wishes?
When looking at questions to Ask Aging Parents, this is important. Life is unpredictable, and you can never tell what will happen down the line as one gets older.
It is best to find out from them what they would desire in the future as it relates to their health choices. For instance, you can ask them their choice of feeding should they be unable to feed themselves (feeding tube, ventilator, etc.).
Also, should they experience a terminal condition like a coma or heart failure, would they want to be placed on life support or should we “pull the plug”? Whatever their decision, the health care proxy should be aware of it.
3. Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?
What happens to their money and possessions after they die should be their decision to make. A will or living trust will help to organize their belongings as well as who will get what and how much.
A lot of older adults, though, prefer to put their life earnings in trust and designate one or more persons to take charge in case they become incapacitated.
4. Do You Have Long-Term Care Insurance or Another Plan in Case Long-Term Care is Required?
Assisted living can be rather expensive, as the national average cost can be up to and over $3100. If not careful, a senior’s life savings can be gone in the blink of an eye, so having a long-term health care system in place will be a good option.
If they do have a long-term care plan in place, it is recommended you get a copy of the policy to read and ensure you fully understand it. Make a few calls to the insurer if you are unclear about anything.
5. Are All Your Documents Current and Updated?
You need to ensure all the documents mentioned above are up-to-date and have all the current information. Check to ensure your parents understand everything with regards to any possible changes.
6. Where Can I Find These Documents If I Ever Need Them?
You wouldn’t think about this question unless your parent had a sudden stroke and could no longer talk. It can be a hard thing to talk about but it is one of those important questions to Ask Aging Parents.
Our parents sure know how to put stuff up and then not being able to find them in the case of an emergency. As such, it may not be the best decision to let your parents keep them if you are not able to find them on your own.
Should they have a safe or security box at home, this may be an ideal place to keep them and a trusted family member having access. If they are in a fire-safe, a confidant is needed to share the code with the parent.
7. Do You Have a Financial Advisor?
Finance and health are two of the most critical aspects of their life, and the best interest is needed for their well-being. At this stage, you need to find out if they have a financial advisor who is giving them advice, and if such, can they be trusted?
Getting this information will help you to know if your parents’ advisor is of reputable standing and you will also know who to reach in case of an emergency.
8. If You Can No Longer Take Care of Yourself, How Would You Prefer To Live?
Their plans are the gateway to making them live a healthy and happy life in their last years. You want to ensure you have the little chat with them before time draws in too close. You want to ensure you get your parents to make plans soon enough in their life, so at least basic strategies can be put in place.
When they reach the stage where they can no longer live by themselves, you want to give them the preference of choosing their future living options. Would they prefer to be placed in an assisted care center?
Or, do they want to have live-in help and a nurse? Also, you can suggest to them living with you and see what their response will be. Be mindful that future health care plans may be expensive, so the earlier the talk, the better arrangements can be put in place.
9. Do You Have Regular Medical Check-ups?
Health complications can result in your parents having to visit different types of specialists in addition to their primary healthcare provider. Should your parents become sick or hospitalized, health records from one or more of these doctors will be critical to treating and taking care of them.
You will want to get contact details for these physicians in case of an emergency. On the flip side, some parents prefer to use home remedies from TV or radio doctors so you may want to be aware of that too.
10. Do You Understand the Need for Your Prescribed Medications?
This is huge on the list of questions to Ask Aging Parents. When your parents reach a certain age, they may end up taking a high quantity of prescribed medications.
Getting them to discuss this will help you to understand what they are taking and what it is for, as well as if they can handle them on their own. Knowing their medication schedule and their doctor’s contact will help should a medical crisis arise.
You want to ensure your parents are in the best shape and position when they reach the stage they can no longer manage on their own. It is now your responsibility to help them get organized, as we all know…life is unpredictable.
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- Alzheimer’s Books for Caregivers: Top Recommendations in 2023