Caring for an aging loved one is a big and often challenging responsibility. Whether you are faced with caring for your parents as they age or are in the position of realizing that you will need your family’s help as you get older, you likely already recognize that a lack of preparedness can make it stressful and lead to confusion and strained relationships.

If you are approaching your own elder years or have a loved one who is, you should consider crafting an “Aging Checklist” to complement a retirement and estate plan. This comprehensive checklist can save time and stress for caregivers. When started early, the steps on this checklist can help to support prudent decision making without the pressure of a time crunch. Here’s what you can include:

Related to: Estate Planning

  • Gather contact information for the estate and elder care planning attorney
  • Gather a will or estate plan
  • List contact information for current durable power of attorney for finance and healthcare
  • Obtain copies of up-to-date trusts for estate/long-term care planning

Seniors-daughter-reviewing-online-accounts

Related to: Finances

  • List contact information for all financial advisors
  • List all financial accounts
  • List all pensions and options
  • Make a record of all investments
  • Obtain a copy of Social Security benefits
  • Keep a list of up-to-date beneficiary designations
  • Have a record of automated bill paying and income generation

Related to: Insurance

  • List contact information for insurance agents
  • List all insurance policies
  • Review health insurance coverage

Related to: Housing

  • Evaluate current living situation for aging
  • Consider downsizing
  • Consider modifying or remodeling the home for future needs
  • Review outstanding mortgage or loan debt
  • Create a housing debt repayment plan
  • Plan for illness, disability, or death of spouse
  • Secure funds for long-term care insurance or savings
  • Locate and secure the home deed
  • Discuss and consider senior living arrangements (active adult communities, independent living communities, assisted living communities, nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities, or a family member’s home)
  • Contact Total Senior for local recommendations

Related to: Technology

  • List all online login information for banking, trading, and investing accounts
  • List social media accounts and credentials
  • List login credentials for cloud storage accounts

Senior-couple-taking-care-of-finances-with-financial-advisor

Related to: Business

  • Create a well-defined succession plan
  • Prepare the appropriate legal documents
  • Set expectations for employees, managers, and executives

Related to: Health

  • List all doctors and medications
  • Locate the nearest hospital or urgent care facility
  • Introduce key family members to your primary care physician
  • Coordinate benefits between care providers and insurance companies
  • Prepare documents for end-of-life wishes covering healthcare and finances
  • Make copies of healthcare directives
  • Provide a doctor or lawyer with permission to consult with a caregiver as needed
  • Discuss caregiving options and create a caregiving plan
  • Make plans for funeral and burial arrangements in advance

Related to: Personal Belongings

  • List relevant information needed for a loved one to act on your behalf: Social Security Number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, login credentials
  • Make a note of the location of personal memorabilia and future ownership
  • List criteria for giving up driver’s license in the future
  • Determine family member responsibilities (financial, legal, insurance, health decisions)
  • Make any personal requests known
  • Discard personal knick-knacks to reduce family burden
  • Create a caregiving plan for pets

Caring for aging parents is an ongoing process and their needs will likely change over time. It’s important to remain flexible and engage in an ongoing conversation so that both sides understand current needs and expectations, even if they change.

Start planning senior care today and start the conversation early. The sooner you take care of business, the sooner you can get back to enjoying retirement.

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