10 Things Everyone Should Do As We Age (And that your Care Manager Can Help You Carry Out)
- Identify a trusted person Identify a trusted person or persons to receive your essential documents. We’ll call this person the Information Keeper. This may be an adult child, a long-time friend, or someone who can be counted on as absolutely trustworthy. Set a date for this person to review this checklist.
- Choose one or two people to become your legal and/or durable medical power of attorney (DPOA). Include these names, signed and notarized in the estate plan documents. But it is surprising how many families don’t have one when they need it. A generic DPOA form can also be downloaded free from the internet.
- Have a signed advanced healthcare directive and fill out a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). Competent elder care attorneys should also include this document in the estate plan. This document is available for free from your physician’s office or from the internet for free. It is vitally important that you express your end of life wishes now, so that family members don’t have to make those decisions for you.
- Make a list of all bank accounts, passwords, investment records and financial planning. The professionals you are working with should be on the list. And you should give permission in writing to each of them, such as your accountant, elder care lawyer, and financial advisor to communicate with your appointed trusted person.
- List all of your insurance policies and provide the location of these written documents. This includes life, disability, health, property, and anything else you own that will protect your heirs. Millions of dollars of life insurance proceeds go uncollected each year because the beneficiaries do not know that the policies exist or that they are the recipients.
- Make a copy of your mortgage statement, other loans and debts, financial statements, and bank statement. These should be updated quarterly as they change and amounts fluctuate. If you become incapacitated, your designated person would need to step in and handle your affairs. Make sure they have the financial information necessary.
- Make a list of all physicians, care providers, medications and allergies you take and give the list to the Information Keeper along with written permission to speak with your doctors. This could be a life-saving measure if you are unable to communicate. This one is simple and won’t take much time.
- Talking about death and your burial wishes to your family is difficult but do it anyway. Create or have on hand information about your wishes for burial or disposition of your remains.
- Update your will and/or trust with your elder care attorney. Laws vary by each state and these need to be current in the state where you now live in retirement. If you’ve never gotten around to updating your will or trust, then make a date and see a lawyer.
- Call a family meeting to discuss the items on this checklist. Transparency is critical to avoid conflicts down the road. Everyone should know your wishes.
Corewood Care Managers are trained nurses and social workers dedicated to providing expert guidance and advocacy to deliver safe and cost-effective long-term care solutions. We understand the importance of delivering solutions that help our clients and their families reclaim their lives and increase their quality of life, all while maximizing independence, safety, and comfort. Our Care Managers will develop a comprehensive, personalized care plan offering you and your family options of how to proceed with both immediate care and long-term care. If you wish to learn more or have any questions about our new operational guidelines, please call our office directly at 301-909-8117.