Important Legal and Lifestyle Questions You Should Be Asking Your Aging Parents

November 25th, 2014 by John Wilson

You should interview senior homes before committing to one.

Learn what questions you should ask about senior homes.

It’s a conversation you probably don’t want to have, but the best time to talk to your parents about their future needs and wishes is while they are still healthy and active. You need to discuss senior living facilities and determine if assisted living in Oklahoma is an option for them. Skipping this crucial conversation may mean you have to make important decisions on their behalf without knowing their preferences in the middle of a crisis.

Where to Live

Find out if your parents plan to stay in their current home, if they have thought about downsizing to a smaller place or if they are considering senior living facilities. If they want to remain in the home as long as possible, look into projects that will make life easier, such as grab bars and night lights. Also consider larger remodeling projects like stair lifts or moving the master bedroom to the first floor.

If they are interested in assisted living in Oklahoma, help them research potential senior homes and come up with a list of questions to ask prospective facilities.

Money Matters

While you don’t necessarily need to know specific dollar amounts, you do need to know where their assets are held and how well they are living with their current retirement income. Your parents should give you a list of their accounts, including bank, brokerage and retirement. Encourage them to give you their online user names and passwords for safekeeping. You should also know where they keep any insurance policies, their Social Security cards, titles to their home and cars and past tax returns. If there is a safe deposit box, make sure you know how to access it.

Do your parents have a will? They need to tell you where it is kept and who they have named as executor. Wills more than five years old may need to be reviewed and revised to make sure they are up to date with your parents’ assets and wishes. You should also check to make sure beneficiary designations are up-to-date. The beneficiaries named on insurance policies, IRAs, investment accounts and pensions will trump any instructions in wills.

Health Concerns

Find out which doctors they see regularly and if they are satisfied with the care they are receiving. Determine if home health care is necessary and make a list of the medications your parents are currently taking. Don’t forget to ask about health insurance. Medicare begins at age 65, but your parents may also have Medigap insurance, private insurance  that covers many costs not covered by Medicare. If they don’t have a private policy, determine if they need one.

Most importantly, ask if they have an advanced medical directive. This document designates your parents’ wishes for life support and with whom they would like to communicate with doctors when or if they are unable to make decisions for themselves.

While this conversation may be unpleasant and comfortable, when or if crisis occurs, you’ll be glad you have the answers to as many of these questions as possible. This way, you can help ensure your aging parents are happy and comfortable with no worries their final wishes won’t be upheld.

If you are interested in assisted living in Oklahoma, contact us. Our dedicated staff provides residents with the care and compassion they require to stay healthy and safe.

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