First of all, on behalf of my whole family I would like to thank you for the support that I have received regarding the passing of my mother.
Mom was 71 and had been sick for several years. And it was because of my experiences in caring for her that I started StuffSeniorsNeed.com in March 2012.
But as I said in the title of this post, It’s Halftime in My Care Giving Journey.
And what do I mean by that? I have taken care of Mom as best I could. Now I get a break because at some point in the future…a day, a week, a month, a year, 10 years…I will have to do it for Dad.
That’s just the way life is.
I don’t know if it’ll be as sudden as when Mom took her heart attack.
I don’t know if I will have to face new challenges and deal with different situations or not.
What I can tell you is that the last three-and-a-half years have armored me to the point where I know that I can go through this again, and this time be far more prepared.
So what will I do differently?
Get a Power of Attorney in Place Before All Hell Breaks Loose
One of the biggest sources of stress very early on in my journey taking care of Mom was that after the heart attack, when it was abundantly apparent that she needed to go to a nursing home, was that I did not have the legal power through a notarized power of attorney (POA) to get the information that was needed to apply for long term Medicaid.
It was the classic “chicken or the egg” scenario. I need the power of attorney to get the information to apply for Medicaid but didn’t have the POA to get information.
This time around, we are getting ready NOW. And as I explained in my “Free Elder Law Seminar” article the most important piece of paperwork in a caregivers arsenal is a POA with gifting powers.
This was taken care of shortly after Mom’s heart attack (9 days later on January 18, 2012). After all, I wasn’t going to be caught unprepared again.
Get the Health Care Proxy in Place Before All Hell Breaks Loose
What a POA is for your finances, a health care proxy is for making health decisions on behalf of an individual.
Now, as Mom’s next of kin we were making these decisions any way but it’s nice to have the paperwork in place to make it official.
And that also was taken care of on January 18, 2012.
Get The Medicaid Paperwork Ready Now
As I wrote in my “How To Apply For Medicaid” page, there is a massive amount of paperwork to accumulate in order to qualify for long term Medicaid.
And while there is some information I cannot collect now (i.e. 5 years of bank records) there are things I can do now to make sure that it is easier for me to find Dad’s records when the time comes (i.e. know which bank he uses as well as all account numbers).
And what we are doing is putting together a red envelope with all of the information I will need, in the exact order that I have it listed on the “How To Apply For Medicaid” page, to make life easier for me when the time comes.
As I said, it’s halftime, but that doesn’t mean I am going to sit around idly by and wait to get “the call”. I am making sure this time I am ready.