Counseling experts are already witnessing a 66% growth in calls this year from adult children seeking advice on complex medical, legal and financial issues involving aging parents, according to a report being released Wednesday by the ComPsych Corporation, an international provider of 13,000 employee-assistance programs. Add to that high volume the 18% increase during November and December, when families gather after long absences.
“A lot of the calls are financially driven and stress driven,” says Richard Chaifetz, chief executive officer for ComPsych. “People will call and say, ‘I think my father needs to go to a nursing home. Can you help us figure out our options and how to broach it with him?’ ”
Chaifetz says it’s best to go home prepared to have a good time but to be aware of changes occurring in older parents. “A lot of people will decide not to say anything to parents when they’re visiting,” says Chaifetz, “but then they’ll go home and start to realize their parents might need help.” At times there might be a crisis, says Chaifetz, when adult children have to find alternative living arrangements for their parents.
During or after your visit, you may think about the following:
•How do they look? If they were previously fashion divas or dapper Dans and their clothes are dirty or do not match, be sure to ask the next three questions.
•Is the home in good order? If the house and property were always photo-ready for Home and Garden and now are messy or have stacks of old newspapers and magazines scattered around, that could signify other problems.
•Are they eating well? If the refrigerator lacks healthy ingredients, they might not be meeting nutritional needs.
•How are their cognitive skills? If there are unpaid bills or expired pill bottles, or if they get lost on routine trips, they might be suffering from depression or dementia.
When you are faced with making difficult decisions on behalf of your loved ones, always consider seeking professional help possibly in the form of a Geriatric Care Manager or experienced Elder Law Attorney. Good advise early on can save the family from financial and emotional stress in the future.
If you have questions regarding general estate planning, the right documents and how to use them (Powers of Attorney, Wills, etc.), protecting assets, tax questions or financially providing for Long Term Care, please let us help.
Rick Messemer, Community Education, firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on an article by By Janice Lloyd, USA TODAY (off USAToday.com)