A durable power of attorney?
Do you need a durable power of attorney? Why have one? We all need to put aside the reservations and have this talk. Before you get into the slow boat of your retirement.
You know, the talk that communicates your desires for how your future is handled. Talk about how you want your kids to help you.
Or if you even want them to help, when the time comes and you need help.
If you want them to just hire someone. Tell them. Communication is the key to success.
Make the choices yourself
We are talking about help to assume the chores needed to make your aging as pain-free as possible for all. Let them know. Talk about this.
Get past the vague discomfort you feel. No one wants to admit they can’t take complete care of themselves anymore.
I had better examples of what needed to be done than most people.
Our parents stepped up and made the difficult decisions for themselves.
We talked about the future. They had a plan.
They appointed their durable power of attorney.
Then they moved their money into a trust.
Next, a will was prepared.
The move into the trust protected their resources from being used for consideration in their care should they need nursing home care in the future.
The spouse who did not need nursing home care would then have funds left to care for them.
My parents were people of modest means. They did not have a large savings account.
However, they had done their homework. They knew the steps to take to take care of each other.
Getting ready for when they would need help
They paved the way with talking about what they needed to do. Then getting the knowledge needed to handle the finances and the expenses.
We, as their children, knew that they were feeling more and more venerable as time passed. However, were unprepared when the time came.
Fortunately, they had continued with cleaning out and getting “family treasures” shifted into our hands. We each had a “pile of memorabilia.” A new pile each time we visited.
We were now the caretakers of the bits and pieces of all our lives. Especially the items that related more strongly to us as individuals.
This weeding out process took about 2 years to complete. Then it became time to make their move to assisted living. They were as ready as a couple could be.
My folks knew they were leaving the shelter of the small farm / ranch community they had called home since they were children.
As well, they knew this would mean having to stop driving sooner than if they stayed where they were. This meant they would have to change some habits they had lived all these years with.
They moved to a living facility where lunch and dinner were provided. Mom would not need to shop, prepare and clean up after their meals anymore.
Breakfast would be an easy do for them. They were bravely going into this move with full steam ahead.
There were some rough spots for Dad.
By now he is beginning to experience some of the conditions we now know was called Sundowner. When the sun goes down, he begins to show dementia that is not visible in the normal course of a day.
He was never able to sleep well at night and was up often wandering around the house. Turning on lights, moving about.
I am sure that there was much more to the story than we knew. Those restless nights Dad lived through.
This lack of good sleep at night made him want to sleep in the daytime. He would lay down to nap.
Nap and be up within a half hour. There was not any long deep sleep and rest time for him. He became more restless and nervous.
Taking a long drive through the area where they lived all this time. This was soon the main outlet they had to use this nervous energy Dad had.
With their relocation to the assisted living facility, they would soon have this particular freedom limited. They could drive around the block to the grocery store.
Even go to Walmart if they needed to. It was only a short distance away. Their reflexes had not grown old with more congested driving. They had more “country skills.”
However, they had lived all these years without a Walmart. So they were not as dependent as we were on Walmart shopping.
Dad could, with some degree of safety get in the car and just drive from one end to another of the long street in front of the facility where they lived.
He liked to just get out and drive!
They settled in and we along with them did as well. We were able to do the things they needed while allowing them to manage their lives, the finances and their household for several years.
How will you handle your durable power of attorney?
You as a retired aging senior citizen need to be aware when your finances become too difficult for you to handle alone.
As long as both members of the couple are alive, usually together they are able to manage. The habits of a lifetime carry then through.
However, as time goes on, the surviving spouse may find it is all too much.
My life experience showed me that after Dad passed away, Mom was OK for a while. They had already made the necessary arrangements to allow us to help. So there was not a gap in her care or stability while she lived.
She passed away shortly after her 95th birthday. Mom was mentally alert, never really needed someone to talk too while making any financial decision. Of course, there were few decisions to make. Just paying monthly bills.
She had Dad for 69 years, to discuss finances with. Mom became the strong lead in making sure bills were paid. Money managed.
Couples are usually co-dependent in their later years.
When they were younger, Dad made most of the decisions, or that is how it seemed to me.
However, over the last 30 or so years, they were both a part of the decision-making process.
Of course, they wisely set their estate up to transfer easily and with no problem. The decisions, later on, were not as hard. We knew what they wanted. They had told us.
We all want to be as independent as possible. For as long as possible. As a parent, we need to make sure we have talked with our children about our desires for our own aging.
If you have no children or none that can help with this please seek some professional advice. Make sure your wishes are followed during this time in your life.
A painful journey
The next few weeks I am going to share our preparation as we are gathering ourselves for this talk.
Mr. B and I are in good health, for a man and woman who are 80 and 76 years old.
We both had parents who lived past 95 years of age. We know it is time to get this done.
According to the information, I have located, a basic item we need is the durable power of attorney.
One that is granted while you are still capable of doing so. So we need to get a durable power of attorney. One for each of us, in case the other is unable to do what needs doing.
Getting on with it
Mr. B and I need to decide who we will ask to do this. I know that we can have more than one child designated, so think this is what we should do.
We have talked with our children about this, and they have all agreed that they can work together to perform these duties. After talking we have agreed to be accepting of their decisions.
Of course, we would like to live as well as possible on our own and within our own funding. We do not expect or want our children to have to support us.
If we need to live with one of them for a while for convenience sake, we expect to pay towards our room and board. Not live as a free guest at their expense.
So as I think through this process of aging, getting a durable power of attorney seems a reasonable step. One to take to get things in order for as easy a transfer for the kids as possible.
It is impossible to know when this will come into play for us. Hopefully, we can make some moves toward getting the items in place to make the time as easy for all of us as we can.
On we go to the next step, getting this durable power of attorney drawn up and in place.
One step at a time.
We will get a durable power of attorney drawn up.
There is some more research to do to find out about this document.
Goes without Saying
Important medical / legal disclaimer.
I am not a Doctor, Lawyer, or Investment advisor.
I am simply a fellow traveler on this road through retirement.
Here, I share what I have found through actual practice or through a stumbling effort to improve myself.
Your results, should you adopt one of my suggestions will probably be 100 times better as you are probably a much stronger person than I am.
This retirement stuff is hard! Retirement would be a challenge even if it did not involve the aging process.
We have to work together to make the best of it. Lifetime habits, good and bad, accompany us on this journey we are on. We sometimes are not aware of how we hinder ourselves. My intent is to call attention to what I have found along the way that either teaches, warns, helps, or hinders me.
I hope you can learn, laugh, think about, and pick up a suggestion that will make things better for you. Sharing is how we do it. Do you have a suggestion that you can share? Please leave your comment.