May is the month to celebrate the return of warm weather, beautiful blooming flowers, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. In addition to honoring all of the wonderful Mother’s in the world and those who have died in our nations service – we will be honoring several other people during two important observances this month.
National Nurses Week, May 6 – 12
National Nurses Week is an annual celebration to recognize nursing professionals for their dedication and commitment and to show our appreciation for the contributions they make in health care and in the lives of those they help.
The Meadows and Heartland are blessed to have so many wonderful nurses who are dedicated to providing great care with understanding, patience and respect – while helping to make the lives of our residents rich and fulfilling. You are important part of our communities and we appreciate all you do!
National Nursing Home Week, May 12 – 18
National Nursing Home Week was created in 1967 to spotlight nursing home residents and staff and to encourage everyone to celebrate our elders who make such a positive difference in our lives. This week also gives us the opportunity to honor everyone who contributes to our Lakeshore Senior Living communities – our residents, family members, our staff and the many volunteers who take the time to make a difference in the lives of our senior residents.
There are several activities planned at The Meadows and Heartland during National Nursing Home week. We hope you’ll come out and join us as we celebrate all of the people that make our communities so special.
Randy Hooper served on the Lakeshore Board of Directors from 1998 – March 2014. He is a principal in the law office of Hooper, Zinn and McNea and he specializes in Estate Planning and Probate. As someone who understands the importance of preparing for senior care both personally and professionally, Randy shares with us a message concerning the importance of planning for parents’ long-term care.
This is a message for children of aging parents. I am one of you. My wife and I have been in caregiving mode for one relative or another pretty much ever since we married thirty-six years ago. In that time I have made my share of care giving mistakes. I have made my share of excuses for putting off uncomfortable conversations and decisions about my parents’ long-term care. Fortunately, my brothers and I have proactive spouses and together we have found solutions to make our parents’ lives better and our lives better.
The Parent Care Conversation is Dan Taylor’s excellent book for addressing, planning and putting into effect long-term parent care. I really appreciate the emphasis he places on having six honest conversations between parent and child to determine the “what “ of the parent care conversation – what the parent wants and expects for their future. For every family, there is a window of opportunity for having these conversations.
So begin with an honest question about the big picture: “Mom and Dad, when it comes to your long term care what are some of the biggest challenges you think you will face down the road?” Then stop and listen. Somewhere in the response you will learn your parent’s concerns and fears about the future. If you have not done this yet, put it on your calendar so it will happen soon.
As you are having the parent care conversations, ask questions about the essential legal documents every person should have. Do your parents have recent essential documents? Do they have signed original documents? Are the original documents kept in a safe place where they can be retrieved easily when needed? Do the documents reflect the parents’ specific wishes? In my work helping families keep safe estates, I hear surprise answers to each of these questions. I have seen aging parents with no essential legal documents. I have seen documents that were prepared but never signed. I have seen copies when the family turned their house upside down in an unsuccessful search for the signed original. I have seen documents that no longer carry out the parent’s wishes, either because the wishes changed or the beneficiaries changed.
The essential legal documents are the “how” you will partner with your parents to implement their long-term care plan. These include a will, a revocable living trust, a durable power of attorney, an advance care plan and beneficiary designations. This article focuses on the durable power of attorney. A power of attorney authorizes someone your parents choose (maybe you) to act legally and make decisions on their behalf. A power of attorney is durable if the authority to take action and make decisions continues when your parents are incapacitated. This is a handy and powerful document – a small hinge. If properly worded, the person holding the power of attorney can do anything your parents can do legally. The most common uses are signing contracts, writing checks, endorsing checks and making bank deposits, and managing investments. Here are a few situations you might not have thought about where I have seen a durable power of attorney swing big doors.
- Communications with insurance companies. If your parent is in the hospital and is unable to effectively communicate, the health insurance company will not talk to you unless you have a durable power of attorney.
- Transferring assets between your parents and their revocable living trust. If your parent has a revocable living trust and intends to avoid court probate administration, you can use the durable power of attorney to transfer individually owned assets to the trust.
- Appointment of a conservator. If your parent is unable to manage basic personal financial and medical decisions, and is a danger to himself or others, it may be necessary for you to seek court appointment as conservator to prevent your parent from making unwise decisions. If your parent includes a section in the durable power of attorney appointing a conservator, you will have preference to be appointed by the court.
I am often asked what I mean by “recent” documents. Generally, an “old” will is about the same age as an old car, whatever that means to you. Regardless of the age of the documents, the essential documents need to be reviewed every few years to make sure they still reflect your parents’ wishes.
If you have concerns about your parents’ essential documents, start with an honest conversation with your parents, talk to the attorney who prepared the documents, and keep going until you get the answers you need. If you need assistance, contact me so I can help your family keep a safe estate.
This month we want to recognize the wonderful Lakeshore Senior Living employees who exhibit such understanding, patience and care each day as they assist our residents. Truly they have found their purpose in life.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
So many times we read this scripture in context with a tragedy or disaster in our lives. But what if we read it with the emphasis on “His purpose” for our lives?
Some of us have never sought God’s purpose in our lives. We are like the Hebrews wandering in the desert, wondering why we were forced into a journey. But others of us seek God’s purpose for our lives through exercising the gifts He has given us.
God gives us four different types of gifts in which we can live out our purpose:
- Our natural gifts. These are our standard equipment – the gifts that were installed at birth. Some of those gifts might be singing, dancing, writing, and mechanical gifts. Most of us understand our natural gifts but never discern our spiritual gifts.
- Our Spiritual gifts. These are the gifts that we acquire when we unite our hearts with Christ. These are the gifts that can be used in our ministry. The Bible lists these gifts as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discernment, and language.
- Our Experience. Our experiences, both good and bad, are a gift as well. Experiences in life add to our natural and spiritual gifts, providing new dimension to our purpose. Those who have experienced grief can help others going through bad times. Those who have conquered addictions can help those still struggling. Those who have borne illnesses like cancer can help others going through the illness.
- Our Passion. This is the final gift that God places in our heart to help a certain group of people or serve in a special area. He convicts us of our need to reach out and help a certain group such as seniors.
Knowing these four categories of gifts, searching our hearts and being obedient to Christ helps us to find our place and purpose. Being in touch with our purpose and working to fulfill it gives us an amazing feeling of peace and blessing.