Grandmother Rita disappeared after an argument with family members. The Vermont Mass Live reported that the 71-year-old grandmother was last seen wearing floral-print shorts, a blue tank top and blue sandals.
The report implied an argument about medical issues or maybe disorganized paperwork or unpaid bill issues, leading to grandma’s distress and anger.
About 11 million women age 75 and above live alone, opting for the freedom and independence of aging in place in their home. With the advancement in medicine and technology, a third of these grandmas will live to at least 90 years old. It is easy to just continue living our busy lives and forget about helping Grandma go through her healthcare, financial and legal paperwork to be sure she is able to understand and take care of the issues while she is able.
Grandma Rita is independent but she may be at a point where she no longer is able to drive. (Or wishes not to drive).
Talking and taking an inventory of grandma’s medical directives, living will, healthcare, legal and household paperwork can be a long and time consuming project. But a VERY important project.
But, unless this paperwork is in place, adult children or relatives will not be able to get the information when a need arises. This is a great opportunity to spend some quality time together and learn more about Grandma as a woman with a story.
What if grandma is no longer able to communicate clearly when family members need to act on her behalf? Where do they find the long term care policies, up to date power of attorney forms, health records or personal and banking records?
If you are lucky, all the important documents will be in one spot…if not, it will be worth the small investment to purchase a portable file case for all the documents.
Simply, sorting out paperwork requires patience, time, and loving communications. Sometimes hiring a professional may help with the process of accumulating and managing paperwork on an ongoing basis.
If Grandma fits into the “aging in place group” of seniors – insisting on freedom and control over her own destiny, think about ways you could assist and still help her live in the comfort of her own home.
Having someone outside the family to sort out paperwork is not easy. There are several factors to consider. Who could you trust? Will the information be shared? Are you putting Grandma at risk to dishonest people? How do you do background checks on those who may help? What if your siblings can’t agree?
The reality is many adult children and grandchildren live far away from their aging parents and are busy with their own lives. Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday celebrations may be the only time that family members get-together.
For most of us, those are the days we want to bring in happy conversations and are not the appropriate times to talk about legal, financial and healthcare paperwork.
Grandma may be a very private lady who does not wish to share her most private issues over the dining room table.
What if on these occasions we could introduce bite-sized family meetings about grandma’s needs? Starting a conversation on these issues can be daunting. Here are six helpful conversation starters:
1. Talk with aging parents about their immediate plans and needs in casual conversation.
2. Keep open communication with your siblings about their thoughts and observations of your aging parents’ needs.
3. Know what your aging parents’ medical benefits are. If they are veterans, check out veterans and spouses benefits. (keep this information written)
4. Set a time to talk about more details with your siblings, aging parents, and their medical help.
5. Encourage aging parents’ freedom and encourage them to implement a ‘just in case’ plans. Write them down and make it available to everyone in the family.
6. For peace of mind, find out who will check on Grandma or Grandpa daily when your family members are not available.
7. Remember this quote when talking to aging parents and family members:
One of the happiest moments ever is when you find courage to let go of what you can’t change! -Unknown
We at Keeping in Touch Solutions are here to serve…you do not have to do it alone.
If you are ready to keep Grandma connected to the outside world every day, then call us today… at 1.800.664.5541 …to see if this is right for you.
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.
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