Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

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Common Questions People Are Asking to Help Parents


By Steven Buttice, Founder and President, Living By Your Design, Inc.

The snow and winter are finally getting behind us and spring yard projects are being started. Your parents seem to have had a tough winter — colds, accidents, etc; and you wonder if you are the only person with questions. Life today is active, especially for women aged 45–55 who care for both their parents and children. These are the people caught in the “sandwich generation.”

People caught in the sandwich generation seem to have many of the same questions. This month’s column will take a look at some of those questions and their answers.

Q: Mom and Dad have been married for years. When they got married, their marriage vows said, “they become as one.” Now Mom has a problem with memory and Dad wants to call the doctor to ask about her medical conditions and possible treatments. Mom really cannot answer for herself, and Dad did not go with her to the doctor. He is asking if he can ask the medical office by phone about his wife.

A: No, Dad will not be able to get any answers over the phone from the doctor office without prior approval. However, a proper financial power of attorney (POA) would allow Dad to ask questions for his wife. People should discuss health care and financial powers of attorney (POA) while they are healthy.

Q: Dad has not filled out his POA papers, because he does not want any of his property sold or decisions made about his health care. Does a completed POA take his right to make a decision away?
No, usually people must be found incompetent to make that decision on their own before a POA would become active. This will become a medical and legal question, but financial POAs may be written with safeguards.

Q: Dad wants to prepare for future health needs so he is gathering information and giving you his notes — is this a good idea or a waste of time?
Talking and reviewing Dad’s notes is a very good idea. Dad is making you aware of his wishes for future events. This can present an opportunity for a quality discussion. Someday, you may find this information to provide you a sense of peace.

Q: Mom has dementia, and we are worried that she will wander away from her home. Is this common?
Yes, according to the Alzheimer’s Association about 60 percent of people with the disease will wander. There may be wander bracelets available for your loved one.

Q: Is there a difference between supportive and assisted living?
Yes, while assisted and supportive living homes may be similar, supportive living will allow a person to spend down to Medicaid and stay in that facility. However, many other differences exist. See our website for more differences and more commonly asked questions.

Coordinating care for your children and parents simultaneously is not easy. What can you do to manage this? Three words of advice: Plan, Plan, and Plan. Legal, financial, residential, mental, and physical health care elements must be addressed prior to a crisis. A sandwich generation-er should guide their parent through these issues, while being careful not to take all control away from a parent. Once again, it is important to start talking, making suggestions, and guiding early — do not wait for a crisis.

Details and more answers can be found by contacting Living By Your Design, Inc., at 309-285-8088, or visiting our website at (or use QR code below). Our business focuses on the issues of Older Americans: legal, financial, free guidance for residential placement, and health care issues. We are located at 809 W. Detweiller Dr., Peoria, IL, 61615.


Photo credit: Lisa F. Young/Thinkstock