No one wants to accept their mortality, but when you recognize that you and your loved ones will eventually have to face the reality of your mortality, you can start to realize that there are healthy approaches you, your aging parents, and even (adults) kids should consider as they age. Then, the prospects of a family suddenly needing hands-on assistance and comfort care can disrupt family wishes, goals, and legacy. 
My independent and proud immigrant mother ensured we were all provided for our lives. When she was in her late 80’s, she unexpectedly decided she was open to discussing her finances. That day, she led me to her desk with stacks of unopened envelopes from her various investments. That was scary. While she always seems organized and savvy with her finances, I had convinced her it was time to allow me to review and organize all her documents. After an entire week, I collected her essential papers into a large binder, including everything from bank accounts and life insurance, investments, and paid mortgage documents to property taxes, home improvements/permits, immigration documentation, marriage certificates, and passports.
Unfortunately, this scenario may seem daunting, but it’s a cruel reality that can change in the blink of your life. Therefore, it’s worth spending a similar amount of time as planning a vacation. Take time to process, organize, and review pertinent documentation to aid others in emergencies, life, and estate planning. Everyone in the family from today and into future generations.

Once I organized the binder to contain all these essential documents along with her will, Power of Attorney for Health & Property, and her living trust, we reviewed her workbook. We called each financial institution to verify the account information and the beneficiaries. We took the time to visit her bank to review her accounts. With that completed, I created a spreadsheet that listed her financial records for her review. I can tell you that she had the biggest smile when this was all complete — she deeply appreciated having everything in one place.

A year and a half later, I received a call from my mother’s neighbor. My mother had fallen in her home, and she was in the local emergency room. That became the first of three ER admissions in the next five months. I suddenly was now in crisis mode.

For many years, I tried to have a conversation about downsizing her home, but she always refused. It was the home she had lived in and loved for 40 years and where she wanted to pass away. Making the situation more complicated, she lived an hour away from me, her geographically closest child, and she was reclusive and non-compliant when taking her medications. As her Power of Attorney and elected caregiver, I, ultimately, had to decide and ask myself. How can I save her from herself?

Fortunately, I had all her documents in order, and they were within reach. I had her legal approval to represent her best interest in the hospital and oversee her care and finances. After her third hospital admission, I could tell the doctors were extremely frustrated, but the reality was she was dealing with dementia. As a result, it was time to make a family decision. I insisted the doctors transfer her to a skilled care facility for physical therapy, and she was walking within three weeks. In the interim, I had the opportunity to research a local quality assisted living community near my home that allows a smooth transition into a new living environment.

It was a difficult decision for my brother and me. My mother’s wish was to stay in her home, and she missed it, but she grew to enjoy her new home, her fellow community residents, and the excellent staff over four years at the cost of $240,000. My parents scrimped and saved their entire life. After my father’s death, she invested wisely to afford to live in a lovely senior community and still leave a legacy to her family. My mother always said she was grateful and fortunate to meet her husband and raise a family in the United States of America.”

When I go, I go …I had a good life,” she’d tell us.

She lived just shy of her 93rd birthday.

©Eleonore D Weber, 2024 All Rights Reserved

Do you want to give Peace and Mind to your Family? If YES, learn about a vital family tool – Your Family’s Essential Emergency Workbook: How to Gather and Organize Valuable Documents.A workbook designed with three essential sections on “Yourself,” Your Loved Ones,” and “Your Legacy.”ORDER yours TODAY

Eleonore D Weber, CLTC
Author, Disability, Health, Life, Long-Term Care, and Medicare Insurance solutions! 
©Eleonore D Weber, 2024 All Rights Reserved