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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2005
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    Rochester, NY
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    Aging parents:what info should I have?

    I thought this subject would come in handy for many of us, so I'm asking the question here....

    My parents are now what I suppose could be officially defined as "retired and verging on elderly" at the ages of 71 and 74. And while they are in excellent health (ie: no life-threatening conditions, but w/ a few problems easily controlled by 1 or 2 meds), I'm sure many of us understand how suddenly things can change for an older parent.

    I would like to put together folders of info on my parents to keep in a safe place in the event that one of them (or my mother-in-law) becomes seriously ill or dies. I'd like suggestions from you on the type of info I should keep, in addition to the list below:

    *Doctors' names w/ office and emergency ph. #, address, fax, etc.
    *Any medical conditions, medications they take, how much and how often
    *Any prior surgeries or diagnosed conditions not covered above
    *allergies
    *arrangements regarding elder care-what would happen if they were to become incapacitated in some way? Where would they live? Who would care for them. etc. Do they have an insurance policy that would help cover expenses in the event that they need a home health aide, assisted living arrangements, or nursing home care?
    *copies of medical directives, health care proxys, wishes regarding rececitation/feeding(what the heck are those called?), etc.
    *Names of Lawyer(s)
    *Where to find their important papers
    *wishes regarding burial and funeral arrangements

    Hmmm....what else? What about financial advisors and others who might have important papers? Bank accounts? Creditors? I simply have no idea how detailed I should be regarding their personal papers.

    My older sister lives in Chicago and actually has a degree in Gerontology, and has worked w/ elderly folks for over 20 yrs, so in terms of elder care resources should we ever need to consider it, she would know how to go about those things.
    But, of course I am the one here in town with them, and would be the initial person who would start to take care of these things or keep my sister updated in the event of a serious medical problem. These things can be stressful enough, but stress for me could trigger a relapse of my own medical condition and I want to be as prepared as possible and know what my parents' wishes are so that I can stay as focused as possible.

    Soooo....anything you can add here would be a great resource for all of us! Something that I've missed? Something that you've learned through your own experience/wished that you knew before your parent or other family member/close friend, etc. became ill or passed away?

    My parents have done as much planning as they possibly can in advance of any such event. I know that much. They agreed that they did not want us to have to think about these things during a time of great stress. Now to just get everything in one place for easy retrieval.....

    Thanks for your help with this!

    P.S. I almost forgot....how about any books or websites that you have found helpful? Anything dealing with the above subjects OR resources for dealing with grief? Or how about a resource for children who are dealing with grief??

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    los angeles county, CA
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    566
    All these are good things. I would add a list of their most recent medical tests, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. I say this out of wishful personal experience. My mother ( 77YO) passed away in November from colon cancer that had spread to her liver, and I found out that she hadn't had a colonoscopy in 20 years. It was not a pleasant way to die and she did not deserve it. If I had know about her procrastination 10 years ago I would have been on her case SO hard... and she would have been alive today.

    Also learn about living arrangements for seniors, such as in-house assisted living, senior assisted living centers, hospices, etc. Never too early. And upon rereading your post, it looks like you know about that already.

    If possible, have the lawyers send you a copy of their will/s. Who is their executor? Who are the beneficiaries?

  4. #3
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Charm City
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    362
    You definitely want a copy of any legal docs (eg, Living Will, Medical Surrogate, Power of Attorney). If you are not their surrogate or PoA, you want the name and number of the individual who is.

    Engage in conversations about their wishes WRT respirators, feeding tubes, funerals, and their remains. Then have them put that information in writing. You definitely don't want to have to fight with family members about this stuff and having it in writing gives everyone clear directions.

    Details about all financial arrangements: credit cards, bank accounts, saving accounts, IRAs, stocks, what-have-you.

    Each of their parents' names, including mothers' maiden names, and town/county of birth.

    I'm sure I'll think of more.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    822
    mrs stroozi~ I'm so sorry about your Mom! :(
    Unfortunately, her death illustrates a very important lesson. Thankfully my parents are real sticklers for detail in pretty much everything, and I know for a fact that they keep up with all of those important screening tests.
    A big Thank You to you and artgeek for helping with such an important topic.
    It's not an easy subject to bring up with our parents, but it's very important that we know their wishes and that they plan these things out while they are still healthy.

    I hope others will continue to add to this subject. Erm....I think I've just admitted that I'm pretty obsessed with details too!

  6. #5
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2006
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    387
    Hey - it's not just our parents. We all need our loved ones to know these things.

    I'm pretty young and healthy, but I just went through and made a list of all of my financial accounts, life insurance, health insurance, etc for my family.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2005
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    Rochester, NY
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    craftfetish~ You are very right!!
    Actually, I've been pondering that very thing w/ my own info. I've been through a long recovery from illness~not potentially fatal, mind you. But it DOES kind of give you a new perspective on things. Especially when you have dependants still living with you.

    I only mentioned aging parents here, because that's what has been most on my mind. Nowadays, when they go on trips I worry about them, whereas just a few short years ago I didn't. The parent/child roles start to blur, and all of a sudden you get worried if you don't hear from your folks for several days.

    Gosh...I think I'm a bona fide grown-up now! LOL!

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    387
    I refuse to admit to being a grown up.

    I think these are good things to think about. Both for our parents and for ourselves/our kids. Some of these conversations are pretty weighty. Nice if they can be spread out or take place when they are far from needed so "just in case" isn't so imminent.

    I think there are two piles of information you need for any loved you may need to make decisions for - the right away pile and the important but less urgent pile.

    The right away pile is the stuff that you should have an actual copy of in the event of an emergency. Advanced directives, power of attorney, a spare key, a pertinent health history, and directions to the less urgent pile.

    The less urgent pile gets into financial papers, insurance policies, account numbers, wills, etc. You need to know that it exists and where to get it if you need to, but you might not need a physical copy if your loved one is more comfortable with not divulging everything. They could type up a detailed list and have a red file in their drawer or in a safe deposit box that you know how to access.

    Down the road, or in the event of infirmity, joint accounts or other ways of paying the bills may be useful. I don't know much about probate, but I think that sometimes accounts get frozen if one of the account holders passes away. If a couple only has joint accounts, they may want to check with a lawyer or financial planner to make sure the surviving partner will still have access to money while things get sorted out.

  9. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Boston
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    676
    Quote Originally Posted by craftfetish
    Hey - it's not just our parents. We all need our loved ones to know these things.

    I'm pretty young and healthy, but I just went through and made a list of all of my financial accounts, life insurance, health insurance, etc for my family.
    I was thinking the same thing as I was reading this. I think it is important that someone in your life has this information for you.
    As someone who does not have a "family" I have a friend listed in my HR file at work as my ICE (In Case of Emergency), reading this made me realize that she does not have a lot of this informaiton for me.

  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort Worth TX
    Posts
    215
    I'm deeply involved in this right now. Mom's 90 and lives alone. She refuses to discuss assisted living or having someone in to help. I think we have all the paperwork in order, but the time and patience required to help her manage her life is no small challenge, esp. since she lives two hours away from me.
    The upside: I am learning a lot about her life story and I have shed most of my "proper" act around her.

  11. #10
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
    Location
    NJ
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    172
    Recipes...

    Really. That and memories of their childhood, etc. They probably don't think that's important but it's stuff that they can pass on to the future generations.


 
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