6 Ways to Help Older Adults Put Their Affairs in Order

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While your aging loved one is still in control of his or her mental faculties, getting his or her affairs in order is an important step to take. Granted, it’s a topic you’ll want to bring up from a place of honest love and concern. However, once you do get to the point where such discussions can take place, here are six tips to keep in mind as you help your loved one get his or her affairs in order. 


1. Encourage Preparing/Updating a Will

At the very least, your loved one should have a valid updated will. An attorney specializing in elder law matters can help your loved one take this step. If your loved one has significant assets, a trust may be worth considering. This is an option that allows your loved one to determine how his or her assets will be distributed. 


2. Discuss End-of-Life Preferences

Again, this is a discussion that should involve an attorney specializing in elder law or estate matters. End-of-life documents allow your loved one to make critical decisions about future care needs while he or she is still capable of doing so. Such documents typically include:

  • Durable power of attorney/healthcare proxy – Both of these documents allow seniors to name people to make medical decisions on their behalf when they aren’t capable of doing so.
  • Living will – This document allows seniors to make decisions about possible end-of-life care needs, such as nutrition or hydration and breathing assistance.
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) order – With this document, seniors can determine specific conditions under which they would prefer not to be resuscitated by CPR or other means.

If your loved one gives you medical power of attorney, you’ll have the authority to hire a home caregiver for him or her. When researching agencies that provide at-home care, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care.


3. Make Sure Beneficiary Designations Are Current

It’s common for seniors to have retirement accounts and similar investment or savings accounts that allow beneficiaries to be named. If your loved one made such designations many years ago, they may no longer be valid or reflect his or her current preferences. A financial advisor should be able to help your loved one update beneficiary designations and make any desired adjustments. 

Your loved one may prefer to use his or her savings to continue living at home as long as possible, and high-quality help is available. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Reston, VA, Assisting Hands Home Care is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.


4. Put Important Documents/Papers in One Place

Avoid the added stress of having to hunt for important documents after your loved one passes by helping him or her gather important documents and papers. In addition to what has already been discussed, such information typically includes: 

  • Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid information
  • Insurance information
  • Car title/registration
  • Copies of recent tax returns
  • Property deeds
  • Documents related to mortgages, credit cards, and other debts

As for where to store this documentation, possibilities include a locked drawer, a lock box, a home safe, or a safe deposit box at a local bank. Digital storage is an option as well, as long as appropriate security precautions are taken. 


5. Suggest Preplanning Funeral/Burial Arrangements

For some caregivers, this is an uncomfortable aspect of getting affairs in order for their loved ones, but it doesn’t have to be. Preplanning a funeral can allow your loved one to have a say in his or her final arrangements, right down to how his or her remains will be handled and whether flowers are preferred. 


6. Arrange a Family Meeting

Lastly, suggest having a family meeting to discuss everything related to your loved one’s affairs and the decisions he or she has made. This will give other family members a chance to ask questions and express their feelings. It can also be a way to prevent possible disputes later on. 

If your loved one’s preferences include living at home throughout his or her later years, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for the possibility he or she may need help with the activities of daily life. The type of home care Reston seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Specialists today.