Monthly Archives: September 2011

Elderly day-to-day safety: An ever-escalating priority

A major challenge for all of us—caregivers to aging loved ones and all those who are into their advancing years—is to identify and address safety. Call it patient safety, or personal safety, or any kind of safety: it’s ultimately all about working to ensure we can offer and operate in the safest possible environment.

From all the statistics we can look at, it seems that generally speaking the physical and psychological safety of our aging loved ones is a high priority but a low deliverable.

For example, just consider the national rate of infections the elderly encounter when hospitalized. The statistics are rather appalling. Yet if we just think it through: the elderly, given their ages, condition of their physical systems, and ever diminishing restorative capabilities, will inevitably be more prone to infections and diseases while hospitalized than perhaps all but the very young.

Given the pressures on our hospitals, it’s no wonder that by prioritizing health-care delivery aging patients are inevitably shuffled down the pecking order, and maybe even moved to DOR. No, not Do Not Resuscitate, but Don’t Overspend Resources.

Or, for another example, consider this: aging parents are entrenched in their home. They’ve been there for maybe four or five decades. What’s there is ragged, worn, and deceivingly, seemingly safe.

But how safe is it really for those elderly ones whose eyes don’t work quite as well, or whose reflexes aren’t as sharp as they used to be? How likely can the trip or slide or bump and lose of balance be? And what might the results be?

There are actually many actions we can take to help protect our aging parents and
other elderly loved ones. The key is to consider the challenges and options, and to consider how committed and able we are to help them live in the safest possible environment.

Click here to dowload the PDF.

Help protect the financial security of aging parents

So what do you do when you suspect your aging parent is starting to make financial mistakes? Like not keeping track of bank deposits or withdrawals? Or missing investment renewal dates? Or regularly not paying bills by the due dates?

This is usually a very tricky area. Many parents tend to be very closed and private about their finances, and about how to deal with their money. That means you must be sensitive and respectful in how your broach the subject. If you see signs that are cause for concern, here are five suggestions for you to consider:

1. Ask how keeping track of finances is going and if you can help ensure everything is on track by sitting side by side and reviewing bill paying, investment status, credit card payments; never indicate you want to ‘fix’ anything, or ‘oversee’.
2. If there is resistance and you are certain there are financial management problems, ask your parents’ banker how she/he might help by speaking with them privately.
3. Alternatively, if they have an accountant or financial advisor, go meet with him/her and outline your concerns and ask what specific actions can be taken to protect your parents’ financial security.
4. Strive to get your parents to give you power of attorney – general, to ensure you can represent them financially as needed. Forms are available in many business supply stores and from lawyers.
5. Or, at least ask if you can be listed on their bank accounts as an authorized signatory.

They key is to be able to help protect their money and investments so that they can be as financially secure as possible for as long as needed. Please give this some serious thought. It’s rather amazing how many children of aging parents just assume they’ll be able to look after their financial affairs forever. What do you think? What’s been your experience?