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Prepare to care

Five conversations you need to have with your parents or grandparents sooner rather than later.

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us into making premature decisions about how best to care for our vulnerable parents and grandparents. Elderly care experts Age Space are urging people to take control and #preparetocare with these 5 key care conversations starters.

MEDICAL HISTORY  

In an emergency it is vital to know what medication your parents are taking. Have a list on your phone detailing allergies, previous surgery, chronic conditions and current medication, especially if your parent is on blood thinners like Warfarin. This information is only recorded at the GP surgery, and is not accessible out of hours.

Print out the list and pin it to the ‘fridge in case you are not available during an emergency. Paramedics will have easy access to all the necessary information and will be able to make an informed decision. 

For more advice on planning ahead – click HERE

CARE OPTIONS

There will come a point when your parents will need more help to live independently at home. Rather than wait for that day to arrive (trust us, they will need help long before they ask for it) you should have an open discussion about what care options are available. Depending on their medical needs, the three main options will be: 1) Moving in with you 2) Care in the home from a professional care provider or 3) Moving them into a care home. All are costly, can be intrusive and will involve change.

Chatting through these options in advance will help you to prepare financially and mentally for when that day comes. 

For more advice on care options – click HERE

MONEY  

This is a tricky one as many older people are suspicious of sharing their financial information. For example, in many households the finances are controlled by the husband, leaving mum vulnerable. It is worth chatting about joint accounts and powers of attorney to avoid both parents being left at a loss. 

Funding elderly care and later life can be complex and expensive, between £600 and £1600 per week depending on the type of care required and medical needs. A local authority care assessment will determine the care and support needed and how it may or may not be funded.  

In England and Wales, if your parents have over £23,500 then they will be funding their own care either at home or in a care home. If cash and assets are between £14,000 and £23,500 the State and local authority will part-fund some care: less than £14,000 and all care funding will be provided by the local authority although this will be subject to their own weekly budget cap.

It is an incredibly unpredictable environment – you don’t know how long care will be needed and when those care needs might change. If you’ve already discussed the type of care your parents would be open to, we advise planning ahead and researching affordable local care options. 

For more advice on money – click HERE

LEGAL STUFF  

Check that your parents have written a will and that you know where the latest copy is. Discuss drawing up a Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive well in advance of potential need. Create a folder containing all important information such as Bank account details, National Insurance number, Passports, Driving Licence and vehicle ownership papers, Birth and marriage certificates and Insurance details including private health insurance. Log important numbers into your phone. 

Passwords – this can be a legal minefield regarding agreements with providers and data protection.  At the very least it is worth knowing the main login details and password to a computer as well as any details of online accounts and what is stored where on the computer (such as photographs.) 

For more advice on Legal – click HERE

GET SMART 

None of us want to ‘spy’ on our families so the prospect of monitors and call centres can be, quite literally, alarming.  However, used in the right way at the right time such technology can play a vital role in keeping your parents safe and you in the loop. We encourage families to research and discuss Telecare options such as alarms, sensors, trackers and monitoring. Smart home technology and everybody’s friend Alexa can also help your parents to stay independent at home. 

For more advice on technology – click HERE

Age Space has a network of regional platforms across the country sharing local information and advice. If you are new to this journey, Age Space Surrey is a great place to start as it has rounded up everything you need to know locally and signposts to lots of useful support organisations and groups.

Find more ideas here

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