At the end of the year, you wrap up your paperwork. Get things all neat and tidy. Make your last donations. While you’re doing all this, check off these items too.
- Do you have a recent copy of your elder’s Powers of Attorney (both medical and financial)?
- Do you have an updated Advanced Directive for your elder? If they live in a senior residence, do they have an updated Advanced Directive?
- Does anyone know where your elder’s will is located?
- Does someone in the family (besides your elder) have access to the safe deposit box?
- Do you have a copy of your elder’s Long Term Care policy, if they have one?
- Does your elder have their up-to-date Medicare card?
- Does your elder have their 2020 Medigap insurance card?
- Does your elder have their 2020 Rx Insurance card or, at least, the info on their plan?
- Do you have a copy of all of these?
- Have you checked the auto/home/renters/other insurance policies lately to make sure they fit your elder’s current needs?
- Does your elder’s financial advisor have your contact info? A copy of your elder’s financial POA?
- Are you an authorized user on your elder’s bank account? Not so that you can steal millions, but so that you can pay bills or watch for fraud on your elder’s behalf.
- Have you set up online bill pay for your elder?
- Are you watching for unauthorized expenditures on their credit cards?
- Does your family have a budget planned for your elder should they need more care?
- Has the family done a recent maintenance check on your elder’s house for items that need repair, including battery replacement?
- Has the family done a check on your elder’s home for fall risks? Loose rugs, unmarked steps, loose stair railings, bath tubs without grab bars or those stick-on strips that help make the tubs less slick?
- Are you checking to make sure your elder is cooking nutritious meals? Or is eating those you are providing?
- Have you checked to make sure your elder has ordered all the meds that they are allowed through this year’s Rx insurance policy? With the end of year coming, they might get a refill or two in at the 2019 rate.
- Has anyone done an overall Rx check to make sure their meds are all needed currently and are ok to be taken together? Most specialists don’t check your elder’s other meds when prescribing new ones.
- Does your elder take their meds on time and with the right directions? If you are worried about this, consider getting an automated med dispenser or a med check from a home health agency.
I know you don’t really want to hear this from me. I get it. You just want to do your jigsaw puzzle or have another piece of pie. I’ve been exactly there with you.
However, doing this end of year check could save you lots of stress and panic (maybe even some money) in the months to come. It could save your elder too – from additional pain, from a fall, from spending more $ than necessary.
Go ahead. There are a few more days left in 2019. Take one section per day (starting today) and you’ll feel like you are starting 2020 in the best shape possible in your eldercare journey. And you don’t even have to go on a diet!!
Happy New Year!