Use These 5 Strategies to Avoid Stress in Older Family Members or Those Cognitively Impaired

Following are five suggestions that may help elderly family members better enjoy the holiday festivities when all the younger family members are stirring up a ruckus celebration:

1. Prevent your elderly family members suffering from dementia from too much excitement or things like camera flashes, multiple blinking lights, over-exhuberant youngsters asking too many questions and generally just too many simultaneous visitors.  Their own inability to process information at the same pace can lead to frustration and disruptive behavior on their part in response.

2. Try to help the elderly stay in a good frame of mind by playing softer music and familiar songs to soothe their mood(s).  Perhaps predictably, those suffering from various forms of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or other dementia, have shown positive reactions to hearing their favorite kind of music.

3. Protect your aging parent with dementia from loud noises, even loud talking and laughter that seem part of a normal day of celebration. A person with dementia can become upset by loud noises, even if they are happy sounds.

4.  Like most of us, but especially those elderly suffering from cognitive impairment, need quiet time, for rest, reflection and repose.  Too much conversation and holiday excitement among family members can agitate the elder.  Subtle signs of fatigue or frustration are indicators that a break from the action is appropriate for them.

5. Stay on their current schedule. Keep the elderly family member(s) eating at that same times that they always do.  Otherwise, disrupting their routine could create unnecessary stress or confusion.

Our thanks to Dr. Mikol Davis at http://agingparents.com for this information.

 

CFPB Has Published Guideline Booklets to Help Lay Persons Managing Money Under Fiduciary Obligations (Powers of Attorney, etc.)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published new guideline booklets to help lay persons properly manage other people’s money when acting as a fiduciary.  For example, if you are managing money for your elderly parent or anyone by virtue of that person naming you agent under a power of attorney, you are subject to fiduciary duties the breach of which may subject you to a lawsuit or other legal action.  So, to help ensure you stay within the bounds of what the law allows you to do, it’s worth taking a look at these brochures and make sure anything you do stays within these bounds.

The Managing Someone Else’s Money guides are for agents under powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and government fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries.)

The guides help you to be a financial caregiver in three ways:

They walk you through your duties.

They tell you how to watch out for scams and financial exploitation, and what to do if your loved one is a victim.

They tell you where you can go for help.

Remember, an ounce of proper planning and prevention is worth a pound of cure!

VA Study Shows Top Concerns of the Dying

A study by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, shows that the top concerns of terminally ill patients and their families are the following:

  • Prevention of pain is most important. People fear dying in pain more than they fear death.  These folks need reassurance that pain management is available.
  • Patients want to be involved in decisions regarding their treatment.  The study doesn’t report it, but it may well be that loss of control or the desire to maintain control are part and parcel of this driver.
  • Patients and their families want to know what to expect from the fatal condition and treatment.  Again, although not specifically reported, it seems reasonable to infer that removal of a degree of uncertainty about what may help people better cope with their predicament.
  • Dying persons and their families search for meaning in their lives and relationships at the end of life. Practicing one’s faith, life review, and saying goodbye were listed as important activities.
  • Perhaps interrelated with the previous finding, altruism becomes more pronounced in people who are dying, as the study showed people want to contribute to the well-being of others. They find peace in helping loved ones come to grips with their impending death in order to let them go. They also like to leave behind means to care for the needs of their survivors.
  • Patients want to be seen as a whole person, not a disease.

Research from this study and others indicates that it is helpful to talk openly about death and to give your care receiver a chance to talk about death. Thus, doing away with the placebo of denial seems to work more fruitful results.  If the patient allows an opening such as, “When I’m gone” or, “I need to get my finances in order,” take it.  If the uncomfortable is not discussed, or the chance is missed and it doesn’t come up again, direct questions as to the reality of the situation are appropriate, such as asking, “Are you afraid of dying?”  Alsl found to be appropriate are discussions about funeral plans and any advanced directives or other legal matters that have not been completed.

As in other phases of life, arguments with the patient about whether he or she can recover or to remain positive and believe he or she is not going to die are counter-productive.  Denial is less than optimal.  The study concluded that a care receiver will be more peaceful if their loved ones make it known that they have accepted his or her death and release him or her with love.

Who is Actually Taking Care of Seniors Now, And Who Will Be Taking Care of Seniors in the Next Generation

According to a NY Times article, two sociologists, one from Purdue and the other Cornell, have studied the family dynamics in America for almost 30 years.  And, they’ve uncovered some handy tidbits besides proving that mothers have favorite children, despite taboos, and they thought that all sorts of personal history and relationship issues would factor into who wound up as caregivers for the elders.  They figured it would be those children who were closest to their mothers emotionally, who had earlier received support from their mothers, and who had fewer competing demands on their time like work, spouses or children of their own.  Not so:  gender and proximity are the drivers.  It turns out that women are 2 times more likely to be the family caregiver and the caregivers most likely to assume the role are those children who live within 2 hours of the elder–6 times more likely!

But, this is for the generation of Americans that had multiple children–a trend not carried forward predominantly in our current generation of Americans not yet in their later years.  So, perhaps a light is shining on this new reality of aging:  who will take care of this generation of Americans when they reach old age–they have only 1 or 2 children and many are childless.  Clearly, the burden will fall on society at large, and this inevitably means the taxpayer.  Now, it should be more apparent why the risk pool has to be increased, and thus, the vehicle most likely to succeed appears to be the Affordable Care Act.

Read more:  http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/daughters-still-are-the-caregivers/?emc=edit_tnt_20130923&tntemail0=y&_r=0

 

Is Social Media Our Online Tombstone?

1. How social media affects the dying process

 

From the post:

 

When NPR Radio host Scott Simon tweeted from his mother’s deathbed, he opened a window into the usually-private process of dying.

 

 

Jody Schoger, another cancer survivor, thinks that “the more we talk and write about death, the easier dying becomes … if you know what’s going to happen, and how it can happen, you can make some plans, know what kind of questions to ask, make your wishes known so that your family and your doctor know what you want.”

2. 1 billion new family records publicly available

 

Thanks to FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.org teaming up.

 

3. How to close your online accounts

 

Just Delete Me is a huge-and-growing directory of links to account deletion pages. It’s probably worth spending an afternoon going through the directory and deleting any accounts you don’t regularly use.

 

4. ♫ I don’t want to live forever (online) ♫

 

It turns out most people don’t, but one-fifth of Britons surveyed haven’t even thought about what will happen to their online accounts after they die.

 

Courtesy of Estate Dispatch

Taking the Complexity Out of Estate Planning

Remember that old joke: How do you eat an elephant?  Answer: One bite at a time.  At the heart of that gag is the truth about how you tackle any seemingly complex task, taking it one step at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself.

Many people neglect to create an estate plan because they see it as the proverbial elephant…too big, too complex.  But if you approach estate planning in a systematic fashion, it takes the complexity right out of it – especially with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

Here are some tips on how you can reduce the complexity in creating an estate plan, from a recent Fox Business article:

Add up your assets.  Take into account your retirement accounts, life insurance, potential inheritance, savings, property ownership, etc.

Consider trusts.  Trusts are simply vehicles for protecting your assets from creditors – yours or your heirs – and from potential future ex-spouses.  They are also a great mechanism for maintaining your privacy and allowing your assets to pass to your heirs without the expense and hassle of probate, which can tie up assets for a year or more.  And they also help you and your heirs avoid estate taxes.

Think about whom you trust to act as your agent(s).  You will need to appoint a person or persons to act as your agent through a power of attorney in case you are unable to make those decisions yourself, in the case you become incapacitated or have a terminal illness.  This applies for health care decisions as well as financial oversight.

Realize what a will can and cannot do for you.  A will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, giving you the legal power to pass along assets and property to heirs as well as name a guardian for minor children and appoint the people you need to carry out your wishes after you are gone – i.e., who will administer your estate and who will safeguard your assets for minor children.

If you would like to have a talk about estate planning, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.

 

Medicaid, PeachCare Enrollment Hits New Record

New GA Medicaid Record–1.9 million or 1 in every 5 & 100,000 more expected to demand soon under the ACA despite the Governor’s refusal of expansion under the new law.   Read more about the highlights of the state’s presentation