In reality, we all should have such a plan.
But what exactly is an Eldercare Plan anyway?
Recently, the Huffington Post took up this timely topic in an article titled "Writing an Eldercare Plan."
According to the article, estate planning attorneys view being "elder-proofed" as having certain legal documents.
These documents include an advance health care directive (i.e., living will and durable power of attorney for health care decisions), do not resuscitate orders (DNR), a durable power of attorney for finances, and a will.
Nevertheless, once your parents have these fundamental legal instruments inked, there is yet an important aspect of their planning to address.
Recording the day-to-day decision-making desires of your parents now so such desires will be known and followed later if your parents are unable to communicate them.
Consequently, your parents should write an eldercare plan to document their day-to-day desires.
Do not delay.
Discuss a care plan before disease or dementia come into play, or a crisis causes eldercare services to become urgently needed.
Get the plan drafted while your parents are still fully cognizant and rational. The plan can be signed when other end-of-life documents are put in place.
In truth, everyone wins with early discussions.
When parents are involved in the decisions for his or her potential care, then the whole family has a better understanding of their preferences and are more prepared for any tough questions.
A good eldercare plan designates the roles and responsibilities for the care of senior parents to specific individuals in writing.
In addition, healthcare preferences and treatments can be detailed. This can help explain some of the more general guidance in the advance health care directive.
If a senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, then families should begin their elder and estate planning soon after the diagnosis while he or she can be an active participant.
As part of the end-of-life planning process, make sure your estate planning attorney drafts the advance health care directive with HIPAA authorizations so your parents can designate a trusted person to make decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated.
Consider starting the eldercare planning process with a meeting with all of the family and important loved ones. If appropriate, then also consider including friends and even good neighbors.
In addition, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney so nothing is left to chance.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Huffington Post (March 30, 2016) "Writing an Eldercare Plan"