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7 Questions Family Caregivers Must Know the Answers To

7 Questions Family Caregivers Must Know the Answers To

As a caregiver you may play many different roles in your loved ones life and those roles will expand and contract at unforeseen times. Perhaps you are the grocery shopper or are the financial manager, maybe you are the nurse who handles the medication and doctors visits or maybe you are the one who helps with bathing and dressing. You might be all of these things at once or may share these roles with other people. Being a caregiver can be a rewarding but bumpy ride. When you have the information you need it becomes easier if there is ever a crisis.   During a crisis is not the time to be scrambling for answers to a battery of questions that doctors, lawyers and social workers will ask.

The following are questions to discuss with your loved one so you are as informed as possible.

7 Questions Family Caregivers Must Know the Answers To

  1. Full legal name and Address

Caregivers taking care of their parents, or spouse, may be quite familiar with their loved one’s First, Middle and Last name. If you are caring for your in-laws, or grandparents, or other family member, you may not know the proper spelling of their middle name or previous married names. Perhaps your loved one changed their name when they arrived here from another country.

Your loved one’s legal address may be simple enough-unless they have more than one home. If they “snow-bird” (spending part of each year in a different state) or have their own home yet live with someone else it may not be as clear.  Ask where they are registered to vote and pay taxes. Your legal address is used to determine if you are eligible for state funded assistance programs.

2. Birth Date and Place and Birth Certificate

Was Dad born in 1942 or 1943? Is Mom’s birthday on the 4th or 5th? We may not think of our loved one’s birth date until we plan their birthday celebration. Sometimes the date of birth celebrated is different from what has been recorded on the legal birth certificate. If you were born in another state, or another country, obtaining a copy of your birth certificate can take weeks.

3. Social Security and Medicare Numbers

State and federally funded programs require a social security number or immigration and naturalization documents.

Beginning in 2018, in order to protect people’s social security numbers, Medicare issued new identification numbers that are unrelated to your social security number.

4. Employers and dates employed

Your loved one’s prior employer may have pension benefits, life insurance benefits or other benefits still available for their former employees. Sometimes, people change jobs and don’t take their retirement account with them to their new job. The funds remain in the account until they are considered “unclaimed” at which time the money *may* be transferred to the state of last known residence as unclaimed funds. (Each state has it’s own guidelines on when this takes place.)

5. Education

During certain periods of time it was not uncommon for people to not complete school. Many had to leave school to go to work to help support the family and provide a safe and beautiful exterior like nu look home design does. Some never learned to read and write well. Other individuals were able to attain higher education degrees-Master’s or Doctorate degrees. Knowing the level of education a person has can be helpful when standardized tests are administrated to assess mental health functions.

6. Durable Power of Attorney

It is critically important to know who your loved one gives the legal authority to to make decisions for them if they are not able to make their wishes known. These are documents that are usually drafted by an attorney. Durable Powers of Attorney usually take effect when the individual is not able to make their decisions known.  The document should be easily accessible in the event of an emergency-not locked in the safe or simply left at the attorneys office. The Durable Power of Attorney is NOT the same as naming someone as Executor of a Will. For more information please visit the “Legal and Financial” page.

7. Living Will

A Living Will allows a person to direct exactly what they want when it comes to end of life care. A Living Will makes the hard decisions so you don’t have to. You can specify whether you want to donate your organs, do you want to be placed on a ventilator if you can’t breathe on your own, how much pain control do you want if pain becomes an issue. There is a wide variety of choices that your loved one can make on their own so you don’t have to. A Living Will should be shared with your loved one’s doctors.

 

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2 thoughts on “7 Questions Family Caregivers Must Know the Answers To

  1. Hope DuBois

    Hi, Do you have any information on “Hospital at Home” availability in Rhode Island? My mother is 100 years old, healthy , uses a cane, hearing issues, lives very independently. However I am hoping that when & if she needs care she can receive help at home. As her caregiver I am looking for resources for support for both of us.

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