Caring for an aging loved one can be emotionally and financially difficult. Unfortunately, the ordeal is frequently exacerbated by healthcare problems ranging from issues with the physician to end-of-life or funeral decisions. Having recently dealt with the loss of her father, writer Jennifer Openshaw of The Wall Street Journal offers five tips on caring for elderly loved ones
- Fire Your Doctor. Well, you may not have to fire your doctor, but realize that you can – and maybe you should. Many people don’t realize they can just fire a doctor who is not providing the care and attention their loved one needs.
- Likewise you can fire your home-care provider. Doctors often recommend a home-care provider, and even if you respect the doctor that doesn’t mean that you have to follow their advice or stick with a provider that isn’t working out for you.
- Make End-of-Life Plans Now. It’s very important – for the sake of those around you – to discuss the many details that you’d typically never think about, from life support to feeding tubes. For help thinking through these important decisions now, Florida-based Aging with Dignity has a document titled “Five Wishes” that covers related concerns, issues and questions.
- Shop Funeral Costs. Yes, this is a difficult thing to do, but companies know there are profits to be made amid your grief, and prices (for very similar services) can vary widely from one provider to another. All the more reason to talk these matters through in advance, when your judgment is not clouded by grief.
- Review Long-Term Care Insurance. Review your policy’s stipulations for waiting periods, maximum benefit amounts, etc. A 90-day waiting period is fairly standard, but can be quite traumatic when you’re struggling through it. Knowing in advance what will and will not be covered can make these transitions less traumatic on the family.