Take a look at this list of important documents and information that will help your loved ones help you when the time comes.
by Debra D. Feldman, MSW, LCSW, CMC, Aging Life Care Association™ Member
If something happened to you today, would someone know what medications you take? Who your doctor is? Or where you bank?
It is often an emergency, accident, or life-threatening illness that forces us to gather important information and ask the tough questions. But the best way to eliminate stress, worry, or uncomfortable conversations is to prepare yourself for your own aging and to share your plans with your family or loved ones.
There are two main areas for you to establish written plans: health care/medical and personal estate planning documents. Once these written plans are established, share this information with your family or designated point of contact.
Health & Medical
- With the assistance of your personal attorney, execute a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Execute the POLST (Practitioner Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) document if one is available to you in your state, or a Directive to The Physician
- Make a list of your physicians including specialty, address, and telephone numbers
- Make a list of your medications and pharmacy information
- Make a list of any medical diagnoses
- Make a list of all surgeries and dates of those as best as you can
- Keep these documents updated and in an easily recognizable and accessible folder
Personal estate planning documents
- With the assistance of your personal attorney execute a Durable Power of Attorney for Property/Finance
- Prepare a Last Will and Testament
- Prepare a Final Letter of Instruction which should include information such as funeral home, burial instructions, and organ donation wishes
- Provide your attorney’s name and contact information
- Provide your financial advisor’s name and contact information
- Prepare a detailed list of all Investments such as IRA’s, stocks, and bonds
- Make a list of all bank accounts, life insurance policies, long-term care insurance policy, safe deposit box information, and location of the keys
- Prepare a list of all on-line banking and passwords
- Prepare a list of passwords for all social media (Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter)
- Provide your accountant’s name and contact information
- Provide list of all credit cards
- Prepare a folder or binder with the following information: birth certificate, marriage license, divorce papers, military papers, vital papers of personal interest, vehicle certificate of ownership/registration
- List your Insurance Agent’s contact information
- Make a list and provide copies of Deeds and Titles for real estate owned
- Provide your family with an idea of your net worth so that they will know if you have the means to pay for the care you may need in your later years
- If you have a safe in your home, ensure a trusted person has the combination to the safe
Some additional questions to ask yourself are:
- Have you considered moving into a continuing care facility which offers independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, or are you just looking at senior retirement communities?
- Are your wishes to remain in your home with 24-hour live-in care? And, who might provide the live-in care?
- What are your end-of-life wishes?
Once you have compiled all of the necessary information listed above, have a formal meeting with your family or loved ones to review the materials and discuss your wishes.
The only way to prepare your family for your aging is to prepare yourself. We cannot age alone, as we do not live alone. We need to reach out to those closest to us so that they can provide the support we want in the way we want. If you need assistance in creating your plan, contact an Aging Life Care Professional™ to help you navigate your way.
About the author: Debra D. Feldman, MSW, LCSW, CMC has 27 years of experience in Aging Life Care Management and is the owner of Debra D. Feldman & Associates, Ltd. in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Email Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website at ddfcaremanagement.com.
This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.