How you can help an aging parent from a distance

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Disability And Long-Term Care Planning |

Increasingly, Americans are moving farther away from where they grew up. College, and then jobs or relationships, can put them hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their parents. That means when an aging parent – particularly one who’s single – increasingly needs assistance, their adult children often have to find ways to help from a distance. That’s particularly true if a parent wants to remain in their home.

Fortunately, there are plenty of caregiver services available for seniors. The challenge is finding the best one – or at least the best affordable one. If your parent has long-term-care (LTC) insurance, it may cover some of the cost of a professional in-home caregiver.

It’s especially important for an aging parent to have some documents in place that will allow you to step in and manage their finances and health care if it becomes necessarily. Typically, these are designed to be used only when a person becomes unable to make decisions for themselves due to serious mental decline or a serious injury or illness.

Designating who will have POA for finances and health care when the time comes

They’ll need to get a durable power of attorney (POA) for finances to give you the authority handle their financial matters if they’re determined to be incapacitated. This can include everything from paying bills to transferring money between accounts to selling real estate and other assets.

Your parent should have a health care directive in place and name you as their representative with POA to advocate for their wishes as stated in their directive and to talk with their medical team on their behalf if they’re unable to do so.

If you have siblings who will be sharing in your parent’s long-distance care, there should be a family discussion to determine who will have what responsibilities. Remember, though, that if your parent is still capable of making their own decisions, they’re the ones who need to put these and other estate planning documents in place. Otherwise, there could be accusations of undue influence down the line.

By seeking experienced legal guidance, your parent can plan for the future so that they and the rest of the family can have greater peace of mind, no matter where everyone happens to be right now.