Helping your Elderly Parents – Consumer Reports

Cheryl Sherrard was recently quoted in a Consumer Reports article written by Mary Hickey entitled, “How to Help your Elderly Parents with their Finances”.  Her contributions focused on money management assistance and emphasized a cooperative approach to helping elderly parents with their financial tasks, allowing them to stay involved for as long as feasible.  Cheryl helps families navigate later life issues through her ongoing financial planning work with senior clients and their families.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

We all know the significance of April 15th each year, but do you know why April 16th is also important for you and your family?  April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day.  The goal of this “National” day is to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning.  Advance care planning involves taking the time to carefully consider and document your preferences around end-of life care.  It also includes the act of legally designating and empowering an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you were to become unable to do so for yourself. Although these can be uncomfortable topics to consider, approaching these conversations proactively will allow you to stay in better control of the future, whether you are able to personally voice your preferences, or are reliant on someone else.  The primary benefits of advance care planning include; Careful consideration of your wants and desires at end-of-life Documentation of those desires, including life-sustaining measures to be avoided or applied Requests for specific comfort measures , surroundings or companions as death approaches Read on! →

Caregiver or Resource Coordinator; How to Best Help Your Aging Parents

If you are faced with a sudden care need for your parents, there may be a moment of panic and the question, “What do I do now?”  This can be an overwhelming time because care needs are highly unpredictable and are unique to each family.   It is essential to understand your parents’ goals for their future and honestly evaluate what role you can best serve in the care of your parents as they age.  Not everyone is suited to be the primary caregiver, and this may not be the role your parents want you to serve.  Following are a few questions to prompt thought and discussion for you and your family in advance of issues. Have your parents shared their goals for their desired future or have they given you the message that this is none of your business?  Some parents are extremely private about any potential changes, including their finances and estate plans.  Beginning discussions with your parents in advance of any issues can help keep them from being confrontational and give them the widest range of choices.  If Read on! →

Consider the Needs of Caregivers

If you have ever been in the role of caregiver to a sick family member, whether for a short period of time or for a long drawn out decline, you know it takes a huge toll on your own life and that of your family.  Caregiving can be an all-consuming task depending on the level of intervention needed.  Many times it forces the caregiver to completely rearrange their lives, taking unpaid leave from work, turning down promotions, stepping away from social engagements, spiritual interactions and even exercise to concentrate fully on caring for their family member. For many caregivers, they have no other options, either because of their sense of “doing what’s right” or because financially they cannot afford paid caregiving.  Statistics show forty-two percent of U.S. workers have provided care for an aging relative or friend in the past five years.1   One of the problems resulting for caregivers is they can quickly become isolated in this role, neglecting themselves, many times to the point of significant illnesses of their own.    Because caregiving can be so all-consuming, it also makes Read on! →

Aging Alone

For females in the U. S., there is a high likelihood that at some point in your future you will be alone.  Data from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control shows that the difference in life expectancy at birth between males and females was 4.8 years as of 2011.  Although this is down from a high of 7.8 years in 1979, there is still a distinct possibility that as a female, you will be alone for some portion of your senior years.  Just walk through any retirement community and it is easy to see the reality of this statistic. Given this could be your reality, what considerations should be given as you plan for the future? You should be involved in the handling of your finances if you have been hands-off in this area.  Know what you “own” and what you “owe” as a couple.  You need to be informed and educated about all the components of your financial life so you are not left trying to piece together a puzzle if you are Read on! →