Well if you’ve ever attended one of our seminars, more likely than not you would have heard me referring to issues re aged care and I usually use my father as an example. Don’t worry, I don’t talk behind his back, he is usually in attendance.
Well this week that time has come, brought on fairly suddenly by the fact that his Carer (my step mother) suffered a medical condition. So the time came to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk, as they say.
Now the point of this article is to outline the importance of having all bases covered and that means for the Carer as well as the frailer member of the partnership. As I (along with other members of the family) wade my way through the logistics of “getting on with life” there is a bit of time to ponder what could have been in place to make things a bit easier, the following come to mind;
There are all the obvious ones such as Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardians, which thankfully we have (as you’d expect in my role). Just as importantly though someone apart from the Carer needs to know where they are. Once again we were ok here.
One that I hadn’t given a lot of thought to though was…..a list of all medication that my step mother (the Carer) was on. While not an insurmountable problem, you find yourself being asked this fairly regularly and feel a little inadequate when your response is “I don’t know”.
In addition if there are various packets of pills around, which happens to be fairly common with the elderly, it would be handy to know which ones are actually current!
In addition when you are in emergency it’s quite handy to know if the “patient” is allergic to anything and who their regular doctor is.
In the days that follow the emergency things turn more to the logistics of life, i.e. paying bills, notifying services (i.e. home care), etc. We are still in the middle of getting all this sorted, but things that spring to mind here include;
Knowledge of various bank accounts probably isn’t enough when most payments are made online these days. Online banking details for all accounts (where applicable) would be handy. It’s easier to sit at your desk and transfer funds (assuming you have authority) than go into the bank and make transactions.
Where there is more than one working account, what bills are paid from what account. Are they paid manually or via direct debit.
Where does their cashflow actually come from, i.e. Centrelink, self-funded pensions, share dividends, etc.
What “help” comes when, is there a single point of contact for all these services.
If the Carer looks like needing care themselves, what are the options for the person previously being cared for, i.e. emergency respite (not necessarily easy to obtain), respite, permanent care. I’m glad I have a fairly good understanding of how this all works and given the work we do for clients, had a few contacts in the industry.
I know there will be more things we “discover” as our journey unfolds, we are only in the very early stages of getting things sorted, but things are going pretty well. Thankfully we have a pretty good idea of most of the above, but I know most probably don’t.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and things can easily slip by, but as our attention turns to family around this time of the year, spare a thought for how well prepared your family is for the unexpected. I’d say this is even more important if your loved ones live some distance away and you’re really not quite sure how they are travelling. Six months or a year can be a long time when your loved ones are in their 80’s.
For most of us it’s inevitable that at some stage we will have to deal with an aging parent or two, please make sure you have as many things in place as you can. Don’t let organisational chaos add to the emotional chaos that will be being felt by many. If Compass can help, you know where to find us.
All the best for you and your family.