It can be difficult to know how your aging parents are really doing when you live far away. It’s very stressful not knowing if their health is declining or if they are having a hard time managing their finances.
You may keep in close contact with your aging parents, but there is only so much you can do to help them when you live out of state. Phone calls and video chats are only so telling, but holiday visits are the perfect opportunity for you to observe and help your elderly parents.
Here are 3 things you can do to help your elderly parents during your visit:
1. Outsource your parents’ household tasks.
As your parents age, simple household tasks and errands can become quite taxing. You can alleviate such burdens and help your elderly parents by outsourcing as much as possible. While you’re visiting for the holidays, help your parents sign up for various delivery services for groceries, various household items (such as toilet paper and dish soap), and even pet food. There are many services that even offer automatic delivery on a set schedule. Companies that offer such services include Amazon Fresh for groceries and household items, Target for household items, and Chewy for pet food and pet supplies.
If their budget allows, you should also take the time to help your elderly parents with outsourcing household chores. Look into hiring a cleaning service to come to the house once or twice a month. You can hire a laundry service that will pick up dirty clothes and linens, wash them, and then return them to the house. Use an app such as Task Rabbit to hire a handyman to fix miscellaneous things around the house or someone to mow the lawn. The more tasks and chores you can outsource for your parents, the better.
2. Review your parents’ finances.
When you’re home for the holidays, take some time to review your parents’ bank accounts. You can help your elderly parents by automating their finances as much as possible. Set up direct deposit for all income and automatic withdrawal for all of their regular bills. Look for debt, and if you find any, work with your parents to make a plan to pay it down. Helping your elderly parents with their finances can be challenging and complicated. Consider consulting with an experienced CPA for assistance.
When reviewing bank statements, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, such as unauthorized withdrawals or unusually large donations. To reduce the risk of fraud, take steps to protect your parents from scammers and spam phone calls, such as placing their phone number on the National Do Not Call List. If you determine that it’s in your parents’ best interest to reduce some of their financial responsibilities, it may be time to consider a Power of Attorney.
3. Verify health and wellness appointments.
It can be difficult to truly understand the state of your aging parent’s health when you live far away. When you are home for the holidays, you should take the time to learn as much as possible about your parents’ current health. Ask about their recent doctor appointments, check their medications, and review insurance claims. Ask your parents how they feel, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
You can help your elderly parents by scheduling and/or confirming their upcoming wellness appointments and refilling any medications that are running low. If you think your parents may need in-home care, begin discussing it with their physician and take the steps necessary to make it happen. If their health is declining and their financial or legal situation is becoming increasingly difficult to manage, it may be time to assign a Power of Attorney.
If you believe your aging parents need additional assistance that you simply cannot provide from a distance, consider hiring professional help. At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, we specialize in senior care and financial management. We truly care about our senior clients and are passionate about helping them maintain as much of their independence as possible and protecting their financial wellbeing. Contact us at 1-951-686-3608 to find out how we can help your family.