Wednesday , September 30 2020

Documents of Aging

Our lives start with a single document and increase throughout life until the documents of aging reach the most critical point. That first document is our birth certificate, but it is not the last one that will involve a doctor. For seniors, documents and doctors increase in importance each year. Ensuring you have the right documents and have them accessible at the right time is what this article from Assisted Transition – The Villages to The Gulf is about.
Parents provide the management of documents as we grow up, but when we are out on our own there is a need to establish an emergency contact. This is a person that you trust to handle your most private information, is willing and able to assist in the event of an emergency, and organized enough to keep copies of your documents in a safe accessible location. They are likely to also have copies of your house keys and on-line account information and passwords.
An initial document should contain information about all your financial accounts, credit cards, properties, automobiles, assets, and investments. Due to life’s changes this should be updated at least annually. Your emergency contact should have a copy and know where the originals are. Determine if a different person should receive your power of attorney responsibility. An executor of your estate should also be chosen. Multiple people reduce the risk of unavailability.
The next group of documents is referred to as advance directives. If you are unable to make decisions for yourself these documents (or persons) will. They should include a living will, durable power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for financial matters, do not resuscitate orders, organ donor cards and funeral plans. Each state has their own rules so be sure these are up to date in the state you reside and are protected from fire, flood or theft.
The next group of documents is referred to as advance directives. If you are unable to make decisions for yourself these documents (or persons) will. They should include a living will, durable power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for financial matters, do not resuscitate orders, organ donor cards and funeral plans. Each state has their own rules so be sure these are up to date in the state you reside and are protected from fire, flood or theft.
Life’s documents will include a birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card, marriage certificate, passport, military I.D., will, trusts, contracts, various insurance policies including long term care, and any other legal or financial documents that might be needed. A funeral planning guide should be completed so your final wishes are able to be handled. All preferences and prepayments should be obvious to guide those given the responsibility.
A separate collection of documents are needed for your medical records. Primary and specialist doctor contacts, prescription records, home health or caregiver information, and a summary of medical conditions, especially if some are life threatening, or require specialized care. Immunization records, any allergies listed, and physical aids required should be listed. HIPPA laws prevent anyone accessing your records without specific written authorization.
Life’s daily routines should be available to your emergency contact, such as pet information, employment, community, and religious affiliations. Who do you want the emergency contact to notify in the event of a life changing occurrence that prevents you from communicating?
There is often a different list for hospitalization than death. Are there people relying on you that should be contacted? Family, friends, and communities can change so keep up to date.
This overview does not adequately cover the details of each document and the legal aspects that may apply individually. Assisted Transition will hold a Senior Advocacy Symposium on documents of aging to provide education and information on resources within the community. It will be held on Wednesday February 19th from 9:30am till 3:00pm in The Lincoln Room at THE WILDWOOD COMMUNITY CENTER. It is located at 6500 Powell Road in Wildwood. Call 352-356-8127 for more information on free tickets.
One life changing event can expose just how unaware everyone is about information pertinent to you and each member of your family. All adults of every age can reduce stress, heartache, and expense by knowing about the documents of aging, then taking the steps to prepare for an inevitable occurrence. Assisted Transition – The Villages to The Gulf has partnered with local professionals to explain about these documents and offer their services in taking those steps.
Assisted Transition is a free educational senior advocacy business. Many times families are confused by terms like elder care, senior care, senior living, or assisted living. With the aging of residents in The Villages and nearby towns of Lady Lake, Leesburg, Tavares, Eustis, Summerfield, Belleview, Inverness, and Lecanto, independent living is another desired option. Assisted Transition provides a free tour guide through the maze of senior services in Lake, Sumter, Marion, and Citrus counties. Call our local Leesburg office at 352-356-8127.
David and Angela Wilkins serve the Central Florida  living and care placement needs of seniors. They focus on the  growing retirement communities of The Villages and the surrounding towns and cities stretching to the Gulf of Mexico. Their office is in Leesburg, Florida and they can be reached at 352-356-8127.
Both are Certified Senior Advisors® with a passion for compassionate education of the life stages seniors go through, a term we call transitions. David has his MBA and came from a corporate marketing background.  Angela was previously a certified elementary school teacher. Both have lost their parents and lived through the health concerns that have taken the lives of one of David’s sisters and his only brother. Those experiences and serving as an ordained Deacon responsible for multiple widows has shaped their worldview.

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