Answers to your questions, concerns, and confusion about caring for your aging parents.
Adult children often have concerns about caring for their aging parents. Ann Sutton Burke, MPA, CMC, Jewish Family Service Director of Aging and Caregiver Services, helped answer these concerns and ease the confusion during a free Q & A discussion on this topic June 27, 2017. The discussion, “Help Me Help My Aging Parents”, was offered by Jewish Family Service Alan R. Mack Speaker Series and sponsored by CareLink: Your Experts in Aging.
Ann, who has more than 37 years’ experience in the field of aging and was also a long-distance caregiver for her mother in Illinois, was able to provide the perspective from all sides.
“It’s okay to just be the daughter, son, parent, spouse or partner and reach out for additional expertise to handle the complex situations such as Medicaid or a hospital discharge,” she said.
Ann provided a checklist in eight key knowledge areas.
The first area, knowing your local resources, reinforced the importance of learning what is available where the parent lives. “There may be benefits your parent qualifies for that you are missing because eligibility varies from state to state,” she advised. She also provided a list of suggestions to find local resources.
The next area of discussion was legal. Although she is not a lawyer, Ann works closely with elder law attorneys to help clients of the agency. She shared that it is often difficult to talk openly with aging parents about legal issues such as wills. Ann suggested to start the conversation before dementia or a sudden illness by saying, “I just did my power of attorney paperwork. Do you have one?”
Financial discussion was the 3rd item on the checklist. According to Ann, VA (Veterans Administration) benefits is the most underused benefit, including spouses. “If your parent was denied benefits, check again. As your parent ages, health is changing and income is changing, and he or she may then become eligible.”
When discussing health and disability, it was recommended to have more than one family member listed on all doctors’ HIPAA forms. “Imagine what happens if your healthy mother is the only name listed on your father’s form, and she passes first. If he has dementia or has a stroke, he is unable to give permission for you to learn about his care or speak on his behalf.”
Housing, and how to pay for it, was touched on next. Ann shared information about a new trend having five individuals live in a home in the suburbs and share the cost of round-the-clock care. She also gave clues to knowing when it is time for a parent to move.
Ann then discussed the importance of advocacy, especially in our culture of ageism. She encouraged everyone to think, “What would Mom want? Is the professional recognizing Dad has a hearing loss and treating him with dignity by writing things down?”
Ann strongly recommended that everyone have a Plan B in mind for the 7th item on the checklist – crisis intervention. “The other shoe WILL drop. If you live out of town, have a friend, relative, or professional ready that you can call at 2 am to help.”
The checklist wrapped up with the topic of family. Ann shared the importance of having all family on the same page when discussing the parent’s care, including asking the parent to write down what he or she wants.
Ann, who is a strong advocate for aging reminded the audience, “How you care for your aging parents models the type of care you will get from your own kids when you age.”
For more information or a consultation with an aging life care professional, call Ann at 513-766-3350 or email@example.com.
The Jewish Family Service LifeLabs program also offers a free monthly support group for adult children with aging parents. For more information about the support group, contact Brittany at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-766-3317.
Jewish Family Service, a 501(c) nonprofit social service agency, receives funding in part from Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, and United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Interim Healthcare is an agency sponsor.
Ann Sutton Burke, MPA, CMC, Jewish Family Service Director of Aging and Caregiver Services, has been a leader in the field of aging services in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region for more than 37 years. She was honored in 2016 by Association for Professionals in Aging (APA) as Outstanding Leader in the Field of Aging, and in 2012 by the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio as the Outstanding Professional in Aging. She is an Aging Life Care Advanced Professional, a Past President of APA, a Board Member of the Midwest Chapter of the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), a member of the National Public Policy Committee of ALCA, and a member of the Planning Committees for both the Forum on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Symposium. Before joining Jewish Family Service, she worked for Senior Services of Northern Kentucky, Visiting Nurse Association, Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, and Cincinnati Area Senior Services. Her expertise in helping senior adults live independently in their own homes was nationally recognized when she gave testimony at a United States Senate hearing.
Questions? Email email@example.com or leave a message at 513-985-1581