When the Roles Are Reversed
By Nichole Becker
MRC Creekside Philanthropy Director
We can all remember when we were younger and had someone care for us. Well, what happens when we find the roles reversed and we are taking care of the one who once cared for us? Have you thought about it? Honestly, I know I hadn’t, not completely anyway.
First of all, yes you probably – let me restate that – yes you feel hopeless, rather confused, exhausted and unsure of what to do just thinking about it. Am I right? Maybe you’re currently in the middle of it or maybe it’s hiding just around the corner.
We hadn’t been forced to make these decisions or ask these questions until that day. And it was all so very overwhelming.
My advice to you and your family, be the one to ask those questions now before you no longer can. I know it’s a subject hard to bring up and it’s something we don’t want to think about, but having that loved one’s input on how they want to be cared for, to me, is priceless. Not to mention, it sure takes a lot of worry and stress off of you!
I know some of us are not planners. I always thought of myself as one, but not when it came to caring for your parents. No one thinks this will happen one day – I especially did not, not so suddenly anyway.
Ask the tough questions NOW:
- Is there some form of a will in place? Where is it located or who do we need to call to start? (every state has different laws, so be sure to speak with a lawyer in the state your loved one resides)
- Are their important documents/paperwork organized in a certain place and does your family know where that is?
- What are the insurance coverage benefits? (access to insurance cards/policies if need be)
- Is there any long term care insurance?
- What are their financial options — what type of extra care could they afford?
- If a care community is an option, have you researched the different communities with your loved one? Check out Medicare.gov to compare communities with their quality ratings.
- Who will be the executor/administer of the estate? Has needed documentation been filled out and completed?
- Who will have medical power of attorney if need be? Has needed documentation been filled out and completed?
- What are your loved ones wishes to live out the rest of their life?
- Are there plans laid out for after your loved one is gone? Have the expenses been covered so they don’t fall on you?
My mom was very adamant on what she didn’t want and there was some talk of what needed to be done. My brother and I did the best we could with what we were given even considering we resided in two different states.
But in the end, things would have been so much less overwhelming if we had asked these hard questions beforehand. Having each other to work through this part of our lives was vital. Attending area support groups is a wonderful resource as well, and very helpful in sharing ideas and getting support from others going through similar situations.
Our mom died 7 ½ weeks after our dad. A bittersweet moment – a heartfelt moment of a couple who had been married for almost 55 years. But in the end, we were left with a lot to figure out on our own. We pulled together and got through it and continue to do so every day since.