Caring for aging parents


July 16, 2018

These talks can be hard, but they make decision making easier in the long run.


As parents age, it is important for the whole family to discuss financial issues, health needs and other important lifestyle decisions. While these can be difficult conversations to have, it is important to make plans proactively before a crisis needs action.

How to take care of elderly parents

  • Encourage parents to share financial information with you. It is important to know their fiscal fitness status to begin considering realistic options for care well into the golden years.
  • Know the location of important papers. Having a fully executed Living Will, Power of Attorney for healthcare, and Power of Attorney for financial matters is critical. Additionally, it is important to know the location of insurance papers, life insurance policies, birth certificates, stocks, military records, safe deposit box and other important records.
  • Discuss lifestyle in terms of preferences. It is important not to box yourself in with promises that do not take into account realistic options or financial realities. Siblings need to discuss how they can share responsibilities. Taking care of elderly parents in your home can add as much as $12,000 to $15,000 annually to household expenses and even more if someone needs to leave a job to take on care-taking duties.
  • Gather healthcare information, including the names and offices of healthcare providers, medical history and medications. Keep these lists current.
  • Consider adding the signature of a trusted family member to the safety deposit box and checking accounts in the event that someone will need to assist in bill paying.
  • Use gatherings to capture the richness of your family history so that it doesn’t get lost with fading memories. Photos with identifying information and video/audio recordings of family gatherings can be priceless for future generations.

Source: This post courtesy of Vanderbilt Health Plus, which provides resources to support the health of Vanderbilt faculty & staff.