Elder Parents Sharing Important Information with Family

Elder Parents basic informationThose of us in the Sandwich Generation know that our elder parents can be secretive about personal information – medical and financial in particular. It can become very important though to know some basic names, dates and numbers about your aging mother and older father – especially if you get that dreaded call from a hospital Emergency Room.

Adult children would do well to know:

  1. Parent’s primary doctor’s name and contact info.
  2. Parent’s Social Security and Medicare Numbers – at least last 4 digits.
  3. Some familiarity with their medical conditions/history and medications.
  4. Their pharmacy name and phone number.
  5. Where they bank, if they have Long Term Care Insurance or Secondary insurance – contact information for each – name of company, broker, policy numbers.

You may need to explain more than once to your parent why you want to have this information. Many seniors say they “don’t want to be a burden to their children” – having this information helps you, and makes helping them, easier. You may have to be a little crafty to get or find the information.

It is highly recommended, for everyone’s benefit, your parents pick someone, a family member or not, to give a Durable Power of Attorney to so those in an emergency, that POA person can get information and help out.

Discussing the Legal Documents 

Additionally, if your parents also have their Medical Directives done along with their POA with an Elder Law Attorney, very difficult decisions can be adhered to. It is a gracious gift to adult son and daughters not having to wonder what mom or dad would have wanted if they were very ill or in an end of life situation and unable to make their needs known. Children can’t guess at this, especially when there are siblings who have their own ideas. With a Durable POA, a trusted person is designated to carry out things. With a Medical Directive/Surrogate, then the adult son/daughter doesn’t have to guess at their parent’s wishes, they need to oversee that those wishes are carried out.