Planning Ahead with a Loved One
10 Things You Should Know About Your Aging Parents
These ten seemingly simple things can mean the difference between being prepared in an emergency, or fumbling helplessly through a junk drawer in the middle of the night while the doctors and nurses treating your loved one wait on vital information.
As a career policy maker in the healthcare industry, I knew the importance of making sure my mother had insurance and up-to-date Medicare and Medicaid information—but when she had her stroke, I realized that I was missing so much of the information that was necessary for her health care.
If you haven’t yet started having the necessary conversations with your parents, I encourage you not to wait any longer to begin. Here is a checklist to help you guide a conversation and start communicating.
Keep an up-to-date list of current medications. This may be the most important part of the checklist, as it will aid immensely in an emergency.
Record your family member’s insurance numbers, including Medigap/Medicare supplemental policy details and long-term care insurance policy number and contact info.
Know how to access your family member’s Medicare drug plan information
Get their primary care physician’s name and contact info.
Does the patient have a pacemaker or use other medical devices and supplies?
Have you arranged HIPAA status for access to medical records?
Gather the URLs, usernames, and passwords for all patient portals.
Know the banks, branches, account and/or routing numbers for your loved one’s bank and credit accounts and arrange access to any online banking accounts they use.
Get the contact information for their investment advisor (if any).
Be aware of any automatic payments drawn from bank or credit card.
In my book The Family Caregiver, I go into further detail on this and other helpful information that will make caring for your loved ones easier.