BY JON CRONIN
As parents age and children become their caretakers, it is important to keep track of their paperwork, medications and the names of their doctors.
It is a good idea to sit down with your siblings and parents to talk about the possibility that one of you could be given power of attorney over both parents as they age. Then, talk to your parents about the location of their birth certificates, Social Security numbers, pension plans and medical insurance limits.
Tell family members and close friends where important information is located in the house. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of medications that your parents take as well as the dosages.
Also, be aware of whether your parents are taking the medications they need on time.
It is important to make a list of local services that may be available to help your ailing parents. Get in touch with social services for the county or city or local non-profits—such as Catholic Charities. These organizations may provide social workers that could visit and assist with issues pertaining to physical or mental health and home safety and then pass the information they collect on to doctors and psychiatrists.
As your parents age, you may have to make the difficult decision of putting them in a assisted living facility.
Here are some questions to consider while deciding whether your parents need that level of care:
Are they eating? Is their diet healthy? Is food in the fridge going bad frequently?
Can they get up from a chair with ease? Has their gate changed? Are they falling?
Are they doing laundry? Do they consistently wear the same clothes?
Do they have a support system?
Is the house clean? Has it fallen into disrepair?
Does your parent still take care of their own personal hygiene? Comb their hair? Brush their teeth?
Can they use small appliances in the kitchen?
Can they can get around the house without the use of grab bars or support going up the stairs?
If they cannot drive, are their alternate means of transportation for them?
Are there stacks of papers and unpaid bills lying around?
When you look at your parent, do you see the bright and vibrant person from years ago or do you see a more limited person who needs some help one hour a day, or even around the clock?