Caring for your aging parents is something you hope you can handle when the time comes, but it’s the last thing you want to think about. Whether the time is now or somewhere down the road, there are steps that you can take to make your life (and theirs) a little easier. Some people live their entire lives with little or no assistance from family and friends, but today Americans are living longer than ever before. It’s always better to be prepared.
Mom? Dad? We need to talk
The first step you need to take is talking to your parents. Find out what their needs and wishes are. In some cases, however, they may be unwilling or unable to talk about their future. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Fear of becoming dependent
- Resentment toward you for interfering
- Reluctance to burden you with their problems
If such is the case with your parents, you may need to do as much planning as you can without them. If their safety or health is in danger, however, you may need to step in as caregiver. The bottom line is that you need to have a plan. If you’re nervous about talking to your parents, make a list of topics that you need to discuss. That way, you’ll be less likely to forget anything. Here are some things that you may need to talk about:
- Long-term care insurance: Do they have it? If not, should they buy it?
- Living arrangements: Can they still live alone, or is it time to explore other options?
- Medical care decisions: What are their wishes, and who will carry them out?
- Financial planning: How can you protect their assets?
- Estate planning: Do they have all of the necessary documents (e.g., wills, trusts)?
- Expectations: What do you expect from your parents, and what do they expect from you?
Preparing a personal data record
Once you’ve opened the lines of communication, your next step is to prepare a personal data record. This document lists information that you might need in case your parents become incapacitated or die. Here’s some information that should be included:
- Financial information: Bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate holdings
- Legal information: Wills, durable power of attorneys, health-care directives
- Funeral and burial plans: Prepayment information, final wishes
- Medical information: Health-care providers, medication, medical history
- Insurance information: Policy numbers, company names
- Advisor information: Names and phone numbers of any professional service providers
- Location of other important records: Keys to safe-deposit boxes, real estate deeds
Be sure to write down the location of documents and any relevant account numbers. It’s a good idea to make copies of all of the documents you’ve gathered and keep them in a safe place. This is especially important if you live far away, because you’ll want the information readily available in the event of an emergency.
Where will your parents live?
If your parents are like many older folks, where they live will depend on how healthy they are. As your parents grow older, their health may deteriorate so much that they can no longer live on their own. At this point, you may need to find them in-home health care or health care within a retirement community or nursing home. Or, you may insist that they come to live with you. If money is an issue, moving in with you may be the best (or only) option, but you’ll want to give this decision serious thought. This decision will impact your entire family, so talk about it as a family first. A lot of help is out there, including friends and extended family. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Evaluating your parents’ abilities
If you’re concerned about your parents’ mental or physical capabilities, ask their doctor(s) to recommend a facility for a geriatric assessment. These assessments can be done at hospitals or clinics. The evaluation determines your parents’ capabilities for day-to-day activities (e.g., cooking, housework, personal hygiene, taking medications, making phone calls). The facility can then refer you and your parents to organizations that provide support.
If you can’t be there to care for your parents, or if you just need some guidance to oversee your parents’ care, a geriatric care manager (GCM) can also help. Typically, GCMs are nurses or social workers with experience in geriatric care. They can assess your parents’ ability to live on their own, coordinate round-the-clock care if necessary, or recommend home health care and other agencies that can help your parents remain independent.
Get support and advice
Don’t try to care for your parents alone. Many local and national caregiver support groups and community services are available to help you cope with caring for your aging parents. If you don’t know where to find help, contact your state’s department of eldercare services. Or, call (800) 677-1116 to reach the Eldercare Locator, an information and referral service sponsored by the federal government that can direct you to resources available nationally or in your area. Some of the services available in your community may include:
- Caregiver support groups and training
- Adult day care
- Respite care
- Guidelines on how to choose a nursing home
- Free or low-cost legal advice
Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary information, you may find some gaps. Perhaps your mother doesn’t have a health-care directive, or her will is outdated. You may wish to consult an attorney or our team whose advice both you and your parents can trust.
Have a fantastic weekend!
Golf Tip of the Week
This Simple Exercise Can Give You More Pop in Your Swing
A common fault among average golfers is hanging back on the downswing and flipping the club at the ball. It usually results in a loss of power, poor contact and a nasty slice. Try this exercise from top trainer Tyler Campbell to groove a proper weight shift and develop more speed by learning to push harder off the ground.
Campbell, the head trainer at the Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield, Conn., says the single-arm dumbbell press with rotation is great for golfers because it teaches them to leverage off the ground and get to their front side as they rotate—two major keys to hitting powerful golf shots.
Holding a dumbbell in your right hand at shoulder height, set your hips and feet square in front of you. Then, go into a quarter squat and load your weight into your right side. Using the ground, simultaneously press the dumbbell up as you rotate your hips and chest to the left. You should finish on your left foot with your right bicep in line with your head. Once you get used to the move, try to rotate faster and really punch the dumbbell up.
If you find yourself hanging back, you probably have that same problem in your golf swing. Try taking the dumbbell out of the equation and just concentrate on driving from your right foot to your left foot as you turn through. Your main focus in this exercise should be getting your weight to fully transfer.
Tip adapted from Golfdigest.comi
Recipe of the Week
Parmigiano-Reggiano Scrambled Eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ½ cup), divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 cups all-purpose flour
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low. Add eggs and cook, stirring eggs and shaking skillet often, until eggs form small curds and start to set, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt, ⅓ cup of cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons cubed butter; stir until cheese and butter are melted. Serve and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.
Recipe adapted from realsimple.comii
Health Tip of the Week
8 Dangerous Outside Plants – and How to Spot Them
Whether you’re picnicking in the park or lazing in your own backyard, you could be at risk of brushing up against a poisonous plant. Here’s how to spot toxic plants and what you can do to protect yourself.
You’ve spent all winter waiting for the lazy days of summer, for the trumpets of petunias, the clusters of azaleas, and the bright beds of marigold. But there are also some not-so-pleasant plants that can grow in the heat, including some that can be poisonous or even deadly. Here are eight plants to be aware of.
- Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)
- Castor bean plant (Ricinic communic)
- Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella)
- Giant hogweed(Heracleum mantegazzianum)
- Water hemlock (Cicuta maculate)
Tip adapted from everydayhealth.comiii
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1 PwC, May 2020
2 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, January 2015
3 Employee Benefit Research Institute, October 2020
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2021 IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES Securities through Triad Advisors, LLC, Member FINRA / SIPC . Advisory services through Ballentine Capital Advisors, Inc. Triad Advisors, LLC and Ballentine Capital Advisors are not affiliated entities. Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
The articles and opinions expressed in this newsletter were gathered from a variety of sources but are reviewed by Ballentine Capital Advisors prior to its dissemination. All sources are believed to be reliable but do not constitute specific investment advice. In all cases, please contact your investment professional before making any investment choices.
Securities through Triad Advisors, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Ballentine Capital Advisors, Inc. Triad Advisors and Ballentine Capital Advisors are not affiliated entities.