Have you started having discussions with your aging loved one about their health care as they age? Because National Older Americans Month is celebrated in May, this might be a good time to start a health care discussion. There have, in fact, been advances nationwide in the care of our aging adults since  National Older Americans Month was first celebrated in 1963.  At that time, Medicare had not been created and there were very few government programs that provided assistance to seniors in need. Also, more than one-third of all older Americans lived in poverty.  Fortunately, there has been a lot of progress over the past fifty years in the care of our older Americans. 

As adult children, be sure to visit and honor your aging parents this month. In addition, if you have family caregivers in your family be sure to give them credit for the increased awareness of the challenges of aging. Did you know that today family caregivers provide more than 80 percent of the day-to-day support for aging adults? 

As you discuss with your aging loved ones about a time when they may not be able to make decisions for themselves, we know that this conversation is never easy. However, it is important that you have this conversation so that you will know what your aging loved ones want in the event of a sudden crisis or incapacity. We encourage you to set aside time as soon as possible to have the critical conversations with your aging loved ones about their personal preferences for medical care and their long-term care. We want to share the following questions you can use as you begin your conversation with your aging loved ones.

  • Who do you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf? 
  • Who do you NOT want to make decisions for you?
  • How do you feel about feeding tubes, life support, and other artificial life-saving devices?
  • Is there any type of medical care you would NEVER want?
  • If you were permanently disabled or incapacitated, what would contribute or take away from your “quality of life?”
  • What are your thoughts on skilled nursing home care versus in-home health care if it is an option?
  • How would you like your family to pay for the care you may need if co-pays become excessive or insurance does not cover your treatment?

Remember as you make your choices, it is crucial that you document your wishes through the estate plan you create with your Florida estate planning attorney. We know you may have questions about this, and many other, estate planning issues. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services.  By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.