This topic has become far more complicated post-coronavirus.
Back in 2017, 2018 & 2020 TGIF 2 Minutes explored “Caring For Aging Parents”… which then became “Caring For an Aging Friend”. Whether caring for a family member or friend, finding and putting into action Care (with a capital “C”) may be more stressful than ever – both for Care-receiver and Care-giver.
There are multiple reasons why the situation can get so gut-wrenching:
- The family of an aging person may be entirely absent from the situation.
- Often family happens not to live anywhere nearby or may no longer be alive or able to assist the aging person.
- There are often no legal means in place for assisting an aging family member or friend and making desperately needed decisions for them.
- Even if documents are in place, aging people tend to share information more readily with friends than they do with family – and then limitations and worries can kick in for a caring friend.
- The prolonged coronavirus situation exacerbated the entire situation by limiting personal contact with the aging person in a care facility or hospital. Loneliness and despondency took hold in lots of cases.
- And the reasons go on.
There are ways to lower the stress. The process requires perseverance and well-researched, qualified services and resources.
- First and foremost, be a good friend to YOURSELF and do not let the gut-wrenching situation become YOU someday! Develop a plan today for your “future aging self.”
- At the point – no matter how young – when you accumulate a certain amount of assets, or purchase a home, get married, have a child, start a business, or become otherwise responsible at a certain level (please ask me for clarification) it is time to establish several basic documents.
- These documents include a Will with beneficiaries, Advanced Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney. These are the absolute basics.
- Most of these documents can be produced by a professional for a modest cost; more complicated versions of these documents can justifiably cost more.
- Next comes insurance planning and various protections.
- Basic Estate planning is a critical protection and can involve creating a Living Trust which is a way to protect assets and create privacy.
- By the way, estate planning beyond Living Trusts can minimize current and future taxes.
NOT being a good friend to yourself earlier in life can be disastrous later in life for friends, neighbors and available family.
Be a good friend to yourself and anyone willing to listen to these instructions. Although the planning process around aging can involve super-tough conversations, the all-around relief for everyone will far outweigh the difficult decisions. More to be said on this topic.