A lot of people throughout the country have parents who retired to Florida or maybe moved here to work years earlier. Living far away from an aging parent who is alone can be challenging. There’s a lot to worry about – especially if they’re still living on their own rather than in an assisted living facility.
If you have a parent who’s determined to remain in their own home but needs some help with personal care, meals, errands or maybe just regular companionship, in-home caregiver services can provide these things. If they have a long-term-care (LTC) insurance policy, that will likely cover some of the expense.
Besides finding a trusted caregiver and communicating regularly with them, it’s important to make sure your parent has documents in place that will allow you to step in and help them if they become seriously ill or injured and unable to care for themselves. Of course, they should have an estate plan, but part of that involves planning for a time when you’re still alive but need someone else to make decisions for you.
A POA for finances
One area where people often need help as they age is in managing their finances. You can handle this for them, even if they’re not incapacitated, if you find out they’re neglecting to pay bills or fear they could become a victim of fraud. If your parent agrees to give you durable power of attorney (POA) for finances, you’ll have the authority to handle various financial transactions.
This can be a difficult conversation to have. However, it may be a relief to them to hand these responsibilities over to you before the time comes when there’s no choice. Even if they’re not ready for you to do this now, it’s wise to set this up so it’s ready to go if and when it’s needed.
Advance directive for health care and surrogate
If your parent doesn’t already have an advance directive in place that outlines their wishes for end-of-life and other critical care, if they’re unable to speak for themselves, they may need one. They should also name a health care surrogate who will have the authority to communicate with their medical team and advocate for the wishes they’ve outlined. (It’s wise for adults of all ages to have their state’s versions of these.)
Whether you’re taking these steps for your parent on your own or with the help of your siblings, it’s important to have legal guidance here in Florida. That helps ensure that you’re in compliance with state law and doing what’s best for your parent.