With the rush of day-to-day living majority of people often forget to check in with their parents. People assume that their parents have super powers and even though they are aging; they simply do not need our assistance. The era of not discussing personal affairs or financials is upon us and as a society we need to have a duty of checking in with our parents and elders.
A simple visit to your parents weekly or a telephone call to check the quality of your parent’s life can assist in pre-planning for the future. Since the subject is one that people would prefer to brush under the rug or wait until the bottom of the basket collapses we need to educate society on simple ways to ensure that the future of our parents are a successful one.
Seeking the advice of an attorney for pre-planning documents such as Durable Power of Attorney’s, Medical Power of Attorneys, or Declaration of Guardians can assist for not having to rush and file a Guardianship to gain authority to place your parents in an assisted living facility or seeking the medical attention that they may need. You are also able to pre-plan by executing a Directive to Physician or an end of life document so that your loved ones are not faced with making difficult end of life decisions. When you have these documents executed prior to any mental disability or aging disability then you are able to prevent family feuds when family may not agree with your final wishes.
Educating oneself on the signs of Dementia or Alzheimer’s and locating support groups to assist in that education can make managing the health concerns and assist with the uncomfortable conversations with your parents. Signs to look for initially would include the inability to recognize oneself or family, inability communicate, groaning, moaning or grunting. When your parents begin to need help with activities of daily living or lack of control over bowel and bladder then it is up to you to bring this to their attention. They will be more than aware of the need for assistance but the family must come together to make the embarrassment of this issues mute and provide them with comfort and understanding.
When our parents or elders start to have increased memory loss and confusion or begin to have difficulty doing things that have multiple steps like getting dressed or taking medications it is signs that we are approaching legal aspects that a power of attorney can settle these affairs. However, if you do not have these documents in place and your parents or elders are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia then you will have no other option than to seek Guardianship over your parents through the Courts. The Guardianship process can be a lengthy one and your family members may not agree as to whom should be appointed Guardian of Person or even Guardian of Estate. The costs associated with a Guardianship are higher in retainer price because of the difficult processes you must go through to grant Letters of Guardianship.
Staying in contact with your parents and setting time aside to have these difficult conversations with your parents early on can avoid Court intervention later. As difficult as these conversations may be, they are necessary and it is more beneficial for all parties to seek legal advice from an attorney, like an skilled Arlington guardianship lawyer, to assist in pre-planning life documents.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight elder care law.