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Managing an aging parent’s care when you don’t live nearby

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Increasingly, even as people get well into their senior years, they’re remaining in their homes. If you have a parent who wants to “age in place” out-of-state or even in another part of the state, you likely worry about them – especially if they live alone and there’s no other family living nearby.

Fortunately, there are a multitude of caregiver services available for seniors. If your parent has long-term-care insurance, it can likely be used to help cover professional in-home care. You can arrange for someone to come to their home as often as needed and help with things like household tasks and personal care, transportation to and from medical appointments and simply provide companionship. You should arrange to communicate regularly with the caregiver to better ensure that you’re quickly alerted to any potential issues.

A POA for finances

One area where aging relatives often need help is in managing their finances. This is a burden you can take off their hands. However, you’ll need to get a durable power of attorney (POA) for finances that gives you authority to do things like pay their bills, move money and handle other financial matters.

Assuming that your loved one isn’t suffering from cognitive issues, they’ll need to agree to that. It can be a difficult conversation, but it may also be a relief to them – especially since so many financial matters are handled online now, which can be confusing for some seniors.

Health care directive and POA

You’ll likely also want your loved one to put a health care directive in place, if they haven’t already, and name you as their health care agent with medical POA. This gives you the authority to talk with their doctors and make decisions for them, if necessary, based on the wishes they’ve detailed in their advance directive.

Naming a preneed guardian

Finally, Florida law allows people to name a “preneed guardian.” This saves family members from having to seek guardianship if a loved one becomes incapacitated and allows the designated guardian to “assume the duties of guardian immediately upon an adjudication of incapacity.”

If you have siblings who wish to share in your parent’s long-distance care, it’s wise to have a family discussion to determine who will take on what responsibilities. Even if your siblings don’t want to or can’t participate, it’s important to be transparent with them so they don’t feel like you’re going behind their back. Seeking sound legal guidance is also an important step in putting necessary documents in place before your loved one’s situation evolves.