Essential Information: A Guide for Adult Children Helping Aging Parents


March 15, 2024

Adult Children Helping Aging Parents

As our parents age, it’s natural for their needs to evolve, and as adult children, we often find ourselves stepping into new roles to support them. Whether it’s assisting with doctor’s appointments, managing finances, or simply being there to lend a helping hand, having access to essential information can greatly ease the process and ensure our parents receive the care and assistance they need.

This guide is designed to help adult children gather crucial information from their aging parents, covering a wide range of topics from healthcare and finances to legal matters and daily living. By compiling this information in one place, adult children can be better prepared to navigate the complexities of caring for aging parents and make informed decisions on their behalf.

From important contact numbers to detailed medical histories, this guide provides a comprehensive framework for adult children to organize essential information effectively. Additionally, it offers a set of questions to facilitate conversations with aging parents, ensuring that no important detail is overlooked.

By using this guide as a resource, adult children can approach their role as caregivers with confidence, knowing they have the necessary information to provide the best possible support for their aging parents.

General Information:

  1. Personal Information:

    • Full legal name
    • Date of birth
    • Social Security number
    • Address (current and previous)
    • Phone numbers (home, mobile, emergency contacts)
    • Birth Certificate
  2. Healthcare Information:
    Consider creating medical binders for each parent (and yourself!). Learn about DIY Medical Binders here

    • Medicare & Medigap Policy Information
    • Health insurance details (policy numbers, coverage, etc.)
    • Primary care physician’s name and contact information
    • Specialists’ names and contact information (if any)
    • Medications list (name, dosage, frequency)
    • Allergies to medications or known allergies
    • Chronic conditions or health concerns
  3. Legal Documents:
    Learn more about Legal Issues for Caregivers here.

    • Will
    • Power of Attorney (financial and healthcare)
    • Advance Directive or Living Will
    • Trust documents (if any)
    • Deeds
    • Tax Records (Prior Year Returns & Current Year Tax Documents and receipts)
    • Vehicle Titles
  4. Financial Information:
    Learn about Financial Planning for Family Caregivers here.

    • Bank account details (institution names, account numbers and statements)
    • Investment accounts (brokerage, retirement, IRAs, Mutual Funds, CDs, Stock/Bonds etc.)
    • Monthly income sources (pensions, social security, etc.)
    • Monthly expenses (mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, etc.)
    • Debts (mortgages, loans, credit cards)
  5. Important Contacts:

    • Relatives and close friends
    • Legal advisor or attorney
    • Financial advisor or accountant
    • Neighbors or community contacts (for emergencies)

Questions to Ask Aging Parents:

  1. Health and Medical:

    • Do you have any chronic health conditions or recent health concerns?
    • Who is your primary care physician? Are there any specialists you regularly see?
    • What medications are you currently taking, and what are they for?
    • Do you have any allergies or adverse reactions to medications?
  2. Legal and Financial:

    • Do you have a will, power of attorney, or advance directive in place?
    • Where do you keep important legal documents like your will and insurance policies?
    • Can you provide details about your bank accounts, investments, and monthly expenses?
    • Who is your preferred point of contact for financial or legal matters?
  3. Daily Living:

    • Are there any daily tasks or chores you struggle with?
    • Do you have any preferences for assistance with household tasks or personal care?
    • Are there any safety concerns in your home we should address?
  4. Technology and Communication:

    • Do you need help with managing your phone, computer, or other devices?
    • Are there any passwords or login information we should have access to in case of emergency?

Additional Tips:

  • Keep Information Updated: Regularly review and update the gathered information to reflect any changes in your parent’s health, finances, or personal circumstances.

  • Organize Documents: Store physical documents in a secure and easily accessible location. Consider using digital tools or apps to organize and store important information securely.

  • Communicate Regularly: Maintain open communication with your aging parents to ensure their needs are met and to address any concerns or changes promptly.

  • Respect Privacy: While gathering essential information is important, respect your parent’s privacy and autonomy throughout the process.

By using this guide and asking the right questions, adult children can ensure they have the necessary information to assist their aging parents effectively in various aspects of their lives.

Source: Family Caregivers Online, Paula Hill, Staff writer

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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