If your elderly family member becomes unable to speak for him or herself, the advance health care directive allows them to name someone to act as their “agent." Eventually, that assigned person will become their “medical power of attorney.” This person holds a great amount of power, making the selection process very important for the benefit of your elderly family member. But just how is this person chosen to be their decision maker? Here are three pointers to help you and your elderly family member make the right decision.
Elders are favorite targets for scam artists. The most common fraud scams against elders include prizes and sweepstakes. This is where the elder is told they’ve “won” but must first send in money to cover the taxes or other associated fees. Sadly, some will oblige to the requirements because they sound so realistic.
“Life after eighty rarely ends suddenly and unexpectedly in our sleep,” states Dr. Dennis McCullough, in his book My Mother, Your Mother. Instead, caring for an aging relative is more commonly a journey of many years. As a geriatrician and care provider to his late mother, Dr. McCullough knows this terrain well.
When your family member is in pain, you are suffering too. The “mirror neurons” in our brains are programmed to recognize pain in others. That’s good news, in that it arouses compassion and spurs us to action. But it can be bad news, too. When you’re highly attuned to a loved one’s pain, you’re at higher risk of depression and self-neglect.
We all accumulate belongings over the years. But when is it too much? According to Michael Tompkins, PhD, author of Digging Out, your family member may be in the early stages of a hoarding disorder if he or she:
If you are providing support to an aging family member, do some homework before filing your tax return. You may be entitled to claim your relative as a dependent. This requires that: