12 Key Pieces of Information Children of Aging Parents Should Have

Pat writes:
Is there a list somewhere of all the important information you should have as your parents age?  Like where they keep their will, where the household papers are, etc. Thanks.
Dear Pat,
The list below highlights 12 important pieces of information children of aging parents should have when trying to help parents age well. Some may be immediately useful; some help in emergencies, and some enable an easier transition at the end of life.
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This list was compiled with the help of my senior advisors including an attorney and 86-year-old Arline, since I know of no existing list. It should save a great deal of stress at critical times when trying to help aging parents.
Specifically children should know:
1.  Where legal documents: power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, and will are kept.  Our senior advisor attorney points out the lawyer–as well as parents– should have these documents. He explains that if parents have used a lawyer who’s in a law firm, that firm should have copies of the documents whether or not the lawyer who drew them up is still there. An individual practicing lawyer may have moved around and could be harder to locate. Then ditto for the documents.
2.  Location of bank account(s)
3.  Location of safety deposit box(es) and key(s)
4. Location of other keys
5.  Hiding place of any valuables
6.  Names/phone #’s,/ fax #’s of significant professionals: attorney, physician(s), financial advisor, parents’ close friends as well as people who help in a variety of ways (ie. cleaning person, companion). Our attorney points out that hospitals, for example, accept faxes of powers of attorney, health care proxies etc., if a scanner is not practical and you don’t bring the document in on your own.
7.  PIN and Passwords in order to communicate with any company that requires them in order to communicate with you (think bills, Medicare).
8.  Where computer passwords are kept
9.  Where checkbook and bills are kept
10. Medication list–up-to-date (Tuesday’s post). Note: a reader e-mailed “A very good idea about laminating your meds.  Every time I go to a doctor’s office, they always ask me for my meds and dosages and I’ll be darned if I can remember….”
11.  Veterinarian (should pet need care or boarding).
12.  Parents’ wishes regarding end of life (funeral, final resting place)
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We can help aging parents and make it easier for ourselves when we have these 12 key pieces of information.

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.


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