When it's your turn: Practical steps to support your aging parents

Amy Schultz
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It’s important to understand your parents’ full financial picture so you’re prepared to support them when they need it.

Here’s a list to keep in mind: 

  1. Make a list of your parents’ personal information (i.e. SSN, Medicare or Medicaid numbers, driver’s license numbers etc.). Having it on hand will help immensely.
  2. Make a list of their financial accounts and the usernames, passwords and account numbers associated with those. Think: bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, credit card accounts, loans, and insurance policies. Again, having an organized list will remove a layer of stress from your life. 
  3. Consolidate and automate. If they have accounts you can combine and payments you can automate, do it. And if you’re worried things might slip through the cracks, create account alerts so you’re always aware of the money that’s coming in and going out. 
  4. Check your parents’ credit report to understand their debt as well as keep an eye out for fraud. 
  5. Create a filing system for their statements. This will make tax season much easier!
  6. Get a Power of Attorney status and make sure that financial institutions and government agencies have it registered. This way, it is your legal right to make financial or legal decisions for your parents. 

Think about long-term care

Once your parent needs help carrying out basic activities like bathing, eating, dressing, sitting/standing, and going to the bathroom, that qualifies as long-term care. Whether it’s an unpaid family member, adult day-care, a skilled nurse, or a facility, it's important to know what your options are when it comes to additional support so you don’t have to rush into any decisions about your loved one’s care.

If it’s still early days, sign your parents up for long-term care insurance. The policy will help pay for professional care at home or in a facility once they can no longer perform two of the six daily activities of daily living or have cognitive impairment. 

Keep in mind:

  • Medicare doesn’t pay for most long-term care services. It typically covers only short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities after a hospital stay. 
  • Medicaid will cover long-term care in a skilled nursing facility and at home but there is a catch. To qualify, the person needing care would have to have very limited income and assets.

We’re here for you

What if you could help your parents, and yourself, financially and emotionally? You can. Our Money Coaches will help you navigate this heavy lift by creating a personalized plan, helping you stay on track, and offering emotional support.

Book a Free Call