Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Managing Mom's Checkbook

The senior care providers of Chapel Hill understand that helping elderly loved ones with their finances can be a challenge. Take, for example, Lilia and her mother, Stella. Stella is a fiercely independent woman who has always managed her finances meticulously. As she has aged, it has become more and more difficult for her to keep her checkbook balanced and her bills in order. Stella's home care professional has encouraged Lilia to seek the services of a Professional Money Manager.

The management of an elderly loved one's funds can become a complex process. With mounting senior care bills and, quite often, a fixed income, maintaining a positive balance in your mother's checkbook could prove to be a formidable obstacle. Professional Money Managers are able to take this task over—allowing you to stop stressing about money and continue looking out for your elderly loved one.

The benefits of hiring a Professional Money Manager are many, and the services of this professional will often complement the services of home care providers. These benefits include:

1.       The peace of mind that comes with knowing all of your elderly loved one's bills are paid on time.

2.       Financial guidance in terms of what is and is not affordable based on the fixed or limited income of many seniors.

3.       A significant reduction in the stress that the many aspects of senior care can cause.

4.       The ability to have all financial assets managed by one, neutral professional.

Senior care encompasses many aspects of living, from performing daily functions to medical care to financial services. The services provided by Professional Money Managers are crucial to many individuals who rely upon home care professionals. Maintaining financial records, paying bills, and keeping a balanced checkbook are often second to ensuring that your loved one is safe and healthy. As such, Professional Money Managers provide elder care services that allow you and your family to concentrate on more important aspects of senior care.

Lilia and Stella are glad they chose to hire a Professional Money Manager. Discussions about finances were becoming tense; now, the Professional Money Manager handles all related issues and communicates regularly with Stella and her daughter. In this way, Professional Money Managers provide an invaluable service to elderly individuals.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Funeral Planning and Costs

Naturally, death is a difficult topic for many families to discuss. No one wants to consider the passing of their elderly loved ones. But senior care professionals have found planning for this event to be helpful in the mourning process. Elder care providers know that, with all services paid in advance, grieving family members are able to focus fully on the healing process without having the distraction of funeral bills and arrangements. In Chapel Hill, senior care professionals help families talk through these preparations every day.

Consider the story of Lucas and his father, Byron. Byron faced a terminal illness and wanted to arrange all of his affairs—including his funeral and financial arrangements for his surviving wife—before his health declined too much to do so. Despite not wanting to talk about Byron's deteriorating health, Lucas helped his father pick a casket, arrange his service, and set up a financial plan for his mother, Lucy. When Byron passed, Lucas was thankful that his father had cared about his family enough to prepare his funeral ahead of time. Lucas and Lucy knew that all of the arrangements were exactly how Byron had wanted them.

Making funeral and cost arrangements in advance can prove extremely beneficial to an elderly loved one's family. Here are some details to consider when planning ahead:

  1. Does your elderly loved one want to be buried or cremated?
  2. Where would your elderly loved one like to be buried or who would they like to keep their ashes?
  3. What kind of coffin or urn would your elderly loved one prefer?
  4. Is there a charity that your elderly loved one would like mourners to support in lieu of flowers?
  5. Where would your elderly loved one like their service to be held?
  6. How will a surviving spouse manage financially?

Lucas and Lucy were glad their home care service provider helped them arrange Byron's affairs before he passed. By doing so, he granted them time to grieve his loss while spending time with their family. Senior care professionals can help make funeral arrangements and support your family through the planning process.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time to Hire Care at Home?

Understanding when to call in senior care professionals is a major step in providing assistance to your elderly parents. Home care services are invaluable in that they help elderly individuals maintain their independence without forfeiting their safety; however, knowing when to call in senior care professionals can be difficult. Let's again consider the story of Marissa and her parents, Donnie and Mable, in Durham, North Carolina.

Marissa has been keeping a close eye on her parents, watching to make sure that they can take care of themselves. As their ability to perform daily tasks has diminished, Marissa has stepped in to help with certain activities. For instance, Marissa and her children take care of Donnie and Mable's yard. Additionally, Marissa visits each weekend to tidy the house and make sure that her parents can walk freely through their home without worrying about tripping over clutter.

While Marissa and her family have been very attentive to the needs of Donnie and Mable, the senior care services that they require are quickly overcoming the care that Marissa is able to provide. Although helping her parents a few times throughout the week is possible, Marissa cannot provide the constant care they are beginning to need due to her own work and family. Once Marissa realized this, she began to consider hiring professional home care providers.

Hiring home care professionals is a major decision—one that can greatly improve the quality of life for all members of a family. Here are some of the benefits that Marissa has found through her research about senior care services:

  • Senior care professionals are trained to handle not just daily activities, but any emergencies that may arise.
  • Home care services provide constant care for elderly individuals, ensuring a higher level of safety.
  • The level of senior care provided by professionals is based on individual patient needs. For this reason, each elderly individual receives targeted care that upholds their values (i.e. independence, an active lifestyle, etc.).

Marissa has decided to hire professional home care services because senior care experts can offer the level of care her parents need. Your parents' needs may exceed what you can provide, which is a natural part of life. When this happens, it is time to hire senior care professionals.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Are your parents taking care of themselves?

Understanding when your parents need help with daily activities is important in assisting them with the transitions that all elderly individuals face. These transitions may be both emotionally and physically taxing; however, they are a natural part of life and can be made smoothly with the right attention. Many individuals in Durham are helping their parents through the aging process, and you can help yours by monitoring their ability to continue to live independently.

Senior care services are available in many degrees, from total home care to basic assistance with daily activities. Understanding how well your parents are able to take care of themselves will help you determine when, and if, these senior services are needed. Consider Marissa and her parents, Donnie and Mable.

Donnie and Mable live near their daughter, who stops in to check on them a couple of times each week. Over the last few months, Marissa has noticed that her parents have a difficult time with some everyday activities, including yard work, lifting dishes into high cabinets, and using the restroom. Marissa knows her parents are capable of performing these tasks, but they seem to be more exhausting than ever before.

Understanding how well your parents are taking care of themselves is key in providing the best elder care possible. This does not mean that you must hire home care professionals right away; it means that you should understand the challenges your parents face and help them overcome these obstacles in a way that promotes their values. For example, Marissa noticed her mother having a hard time putting heavy dishware in the top cabinet. Instead of simply doing the task for her, Marissa offered to help her mother by putting the dishes up as she handed them to her. This way, Mable is able to participate in unloading the dishwasher without putting undue strain on her body.

The aging process is one that can make individuals feel insecure about their capabilities. If these same individuals are reluctant to accept help, they may simply not want to burden anyone else. This reaction is common, especially among elderly individuals who are just now noticing their restrictions. By paying attention to your parents you can determine if they are taking good care of themselves and, if not, how to address this challenge.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Making Difficult Decisions

Senior care requires care givers to make difficult decisions. In Chapel Hill, home care providers face the task of making these decisions each and every day, weighing the wishes of their elderly loved ones against other factors to choose the best options for their families. Because of this responsibility, senior care provision can be a difficult task. Marlene, from Chapel Hill, faced this task with her own parents, Bill and Jenny.

Bill and Jenny are independent, active seniors who only accepted home care because Marlene pushed for it. Concerned for their safety, Marlene knew that having a senior care professional around would help her parents maintain their independence without compromising their health. The difficulty of this decision, and the opposition she first faced, made Marlene realize that she and her parents should prepare for other large decisions that may arise.

Preparing for life-changing decisions when providing senior care can be a challenge, but home care providers can work with seniors to make decisions that reflect their own desires. Here are some ways that senior care givers can plan for such decisions:

  • Have an open, honest conversation with your elderly loved one. Understanding your senior loved one's wishes pertaining to these decisions, such as home care, independence, and medical care, will help you in making the best choices possible.
  • Do your research. Making a decision without really understanding your options can seem impossible. Explain the available options to seniors and keep their opinions in mind when coming to a decision.
  • Maintain open lines of communication with doctors and, if necessary, lawyers. Your senior's doctor may not be able to talk about specific aspects of your elderly loved one's health, due to HIPAA regulations, but they can inform you about healthcare options. Likewise, your family's lawyer can help answer any legal questions you may have.

Bill and Jenny don't want to put their daughter in an uncomfortable position, so they have decided to speak to her about their wishes regarding medical and senior care. Marlene knows that, by preparing for these decisions with her parents, she can truly help them live as they wish.

Advanced Directives

As your senior loved one grows older, it will become increasingly important to understand what they would like in terms of end-of-life care. Though this may be a difficult topic to talk about, senior care and advance directives are important subjects, as they allow you to know and, eventually, follow through with the wishes of your elderly loved one.

Take, for example, Barry and his father. Barry lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he helps provide home care to his father, Jim.  Jim is not very outspoken about his health, which is in decline, but Barry knows that he needs to speak with his father about his wishes soon. In doing so, he knows that the advance directives he receives will help him make decisions should his father become unable to make them on his own.

Advance directives can be given in several different forms, from legal papers to verbal communication; however, ensuring that all advance directives are on paper and, better yet, prepared by a lawyer will assist in future medical care if necessary. By drafting a living will and giving durable power of attorney to Barry, Jim is able to not only put his advance directives on paper, but ensure that his son has the legal ability to follow through with them.

The issues addressed by advance directives are many, and may include:

  • Organ donation
  • Life support
  • Resuscitation

Making medical decisions for elderly loved ones is one of the more difficult aspects of senior care. The use of advance directives, including a living will and durable power of attorney, can make this process much less stressful while keeping it in line with seniors' wishes. As such, it allows both families and their elderly loved ones to face medical challenges without the worry of who will make decisions and, when the time comes, how these decisions will be made.

After visiting the lawyer and setting up his advance directives, Jim is confident that his son will be able to continue to confidently care for him—even if he faces medical challenges. Barry appreciates that his father has taken the time to guide him through this difficult process, should it ever arise.