Checking in With Elderly Family Members this Holiday Season
The holidays are the one time of year when many people check in with their elderly relatives, such as aunts and uncles or close family friends. If parents live far away, then this might be the first time that many people see them face-to-face in an entire year.
The elderly have many needs, and they often lack the ability to communicate them. Whether they are suffering from cognitive decline or simply don’t want to be “a burden,” many of our elderly relatives keep to themselves when they are struggling and refuse to ask for help. Below, our elder law attorneys in The Villages point out what you should look for when reconnecting with loved ones this December.
Check the Condition of their Home
A lot of clues are found in the physical premises. If your loved one lives independently but has a messy home, then they might need someone to come in and clean for them once a week. If they are drowning in possessions, then they might need someone to come in and help them declutter. Stacks of books and other items are dangerous, since they could topple and land on your loved one.
Also check the condition of a hospital room or nursing home, if a loved one is living there. They should be clean. If the room is dirty, this is a sign that your loved one is being neglected, and they might be suffering in other ways, such as not receiving adequate medical attention. Speak to management about your concerns.
Ask about Any New Friends
The elderly are prime targets for scammers, who sense that they are lonely or vulnerable and develop a relationship with them to facilitate a scam. Ask your loved one who they spend their time with. If you don’t recognize a name, ask to meet them while you are there or do some basic online research. Not everyone who befriends a senior is a scam artist, of course, but you want to keep a close eye on the relationship.
If someone new has come into your loved one’s life, follow up with questions about how they spend their money. Are they giving money to this new person? Investing in their business? Rewriting their will to provide for their new “friend”? These are all issues of concern, and you might need to speak to an attorney to find out what steps you can take.
Discuss End of Life Issues—if they Come Up
The holidays might seem like an inappropriate time to ask, “Are you prepared for death?” but you should feel out your loved one’s desires, and doing so face-to-face is often ideal. If the topic comes up naturally, ask if they have given thought as to who should make end-of-life medical decisions for them as a health care surrogate. Also check if they need help with their finances or making other decisions and who they have in mind. You can begin drafting the necessary legal documents after the holidays, but having this conversation is a vital first step.
Contact Us with Your Elder Law Legal Needs
Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group in The Villages is here to help you with your elder law and estate planning legal needs. We offer a free consultation to those who contact us at 800-743-9732.