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Rocket Lawyer Family law

Caring for the Elderly: The Legal Side of The Holidays

We love our aging parents and grandparents, but there’s no doubt that they often need extra care and consideration during the holidays (and so do their caretakers).  On top of all of the other holiday stresses families handle during this time, having an aging relative who has lots of extra needs can sometimes push adult children past their limits.  In this final entry in our series, The Legal Side of the Holidays, we’re looking at how to make the holidays safe and happy for your elderly family members, and how to lighten the load for caretakers.

So what can you do to make your holidays merry for your elderly family members?

1. Get help or give help.

If you know a senior who is struggling with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, giving them the services of a caretaker during the holidays is a practical and helpful gift, as long as they are open to it.  Giving a caretaker a break by bringing in a professional for a short period is also an incredibly thoughtful gift, so they can travel to visit family, for example.

2.  Make sure temporary caretakers have the legal ability to make decisions.

If you need to transfer caretaker responsibilities, make sure the elderly person is protected.  What would happen if there were an accident?  Does the temporary caretaker  have the legal ability to make medical decisions if needed?  It’s simple to grant temporary care to another person by using an Elder Care Authorization.

3. Check in about estate plans and offer to help.

Make sure your elderly relative has all of their estate planning documents, like their Will and Power of Attorney in order.  Often the holidays are a good time to talk about these issues that can sometimes be hard to discuss over the phone.

4. Pay attention.

The holidays are a good time to asses your elderly relative’s situation to see if they need any other help.  For example, is their driving unsafe?  Are they taking medications? Wearing their hearing aid?  Assess their situation and talk to them about it while you’re together during the holidays.

5. Don’t forget to enjoy the holidays.

Watching out for an aging senior, or being a full time caretaker, is a significant commitment.  Try to enjoy your time with an elderly relative during the holidays, because that’s really what the holidays are all about.

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