As our parents and elderly relatives age and experience increased health problems or cognitive changes, completing daily living skills may become more difficult or even impossible. Loss of independence and trouble completing daily tasks can occur suddenly, or incrementally. As our loved ones become less able to care for themselves, it is often a family member who takes the responsibility of assessing whether they need additional help to continue living independently.
It is important to find an opportunity to assess how senior loved ones are doing and have important conversations about their long-term care needs.
Plan Ahead and Stay Informed
- Identify what community services are available that can help your aging loved ones maintain independence in the home for as long as possible. Learn whether housing options are available to meet their changing needs.
- Find out what financial benefits are provided by your loved ones’ Social Security and pension. Determine if they are eligible for other financial programs.
- Ensure that your elderly family member has a living will. Know where all your loved ones’ insurance policies, wills, trust documents, tax returns, and investment and banking records are located.
Wills and power of attorney may not be topics your loved ones want to discuss. Yet, these discussions are vital to ensuring that your loved one’s assets are properly taken care of and that their medical treatment preferences are known. Here are some questions to ask your loved ones:
- Do you have a will?
- Have you executed a durable power of attorney or considered who you might want to handle your finances or health care decisions in the event that you are unable to do so?
- Are your important legal documents up to date? Where do you keep these documents?
Your EAP Can Help!
Knowing how to start these conversations is hard, but your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. Your Component Employee Assistance Program is available to support you in your caregiving journey. For more information on how EAP supports caregivers, contact your Component EAP or send an email to the DHS Work-Life team at firstname.lastname@example.org