Wednesday, March 22 2017
It’s something we don’t want to think about, becoming the “parent” to our parents, taking care of them, their finances and their future. Yet this scenario comes to fruition more often than not. Though it’s not easy, it is necessary to not only think about, but also plan for. Lindsay Dohmen of Anderson knows all too well how necessary this is. In 2015, her 82-year-old father suddenly passed away from a massive brain hemorrhage. Her mother was struggling before he passed, but she had no idea until later that her mother was suffering from undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease. Her parents greatly depended on each other in their daily lives, and since her mom was now alone, something had to be done immediately. Luckily, Dohmen was given information about Caroline Bell, an elder advocate who owns Preparing for Care. Dohmen quickly realized her mom could not stay by herself and needed assistance. “I knew that my dad, being the brilliant man he was, had taken out long-term assisted living insurance on the both of them,” said Dohmen. “However, I was not prepared for the amount of time it takes to get the ball rolling.” With Dohmen and her husband working full time and her siblings living in Maryland and California and unable to assist with the situation, Preparing for Care stepped in to help. Bell handled getting the insurance Role Reversal started, setting up caregivers to come out to the family home, and recommended an assisted living option, the Garden House. She even helped find a place to auction the contents of the home. “I had no idea there was so much to do,” said Dohmen. “I am extremely fortunate that my father had the insurance policy and am thankful every day for his knowledge and foresight. Even though he has passed, he is still taking care of my mother. She can’t remember how she got to the Garden House, but believes my father took care of it all for her. This makes me happy. “I wish I would have personally been more prepared for the situation, but with Caroline’s help, my mom is a success story. I am thankful that mom has a wonderful apartment with all her things around her to make her feel at home. Garden House provides her physical therapy, and they have an in-house doctor, so I no longer have to take her to them. Medication is taken care of, so I no longer have to go to the pharmacy.” Bell said one of the biggest mistakes people make is not having a pro-active aging plan for a parent. Don’t assume your parents have saved for their retirement or that they have the legal documents in place just because they are your parents and have always taken care of everything, she says. Assuming this can lead to a crisis. After experiencing a crisis with her own parents, Bell started her business to assist aging adults and adult children who needed to know where to begin to help Iwith their parents. Preparing for Care is modeled to assist the family with the start of the aging conversation,and to put together the pro-active plan. This will help avoid the surprises and “sticker shock” of care. There are five areas Bell recommends adult children consider, and she suggests that when someone is looking at Medicare at around age 63 to 65 is actually the perfect time to discuss an aging plan.