As the Coronavirus continues to alter our daily way of life, we cannot forget those who are not immediately around us. This holds especially true for our aging parents and grandparents in our lives right now. We face questions including, but not limited to, what are their pressing needs right now? From helping them to avoid isolation to learning technology that is new to them to simply ordering groceries from the grocery store, there is much we can do to ensure that our loved ones are provided for.
The month of May holds special significance as we think of Older Americans. During this month we celebrate both National Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month. Both are equally important to our firm. We work with people of all ages, but are able to provide assistance to those who are Older Americans, their families, and their caregivers. We understand their challenges and work alongside our clients to find solutions to their evolving needs, even now as Covid-19 has altered many of them. Let us share three ways you can help support our seniors right now in our blog.
1. Give them help that allows them to age in place. Studies show us now that younger generations may be better equipped to engage in a world of quarantine. For younger generations not only can socialization take place online but gaining access to needed supplies. From cleaning agents to weekly groceries to placing food orders, younger Americans may be better equipped to deal with these challenges. This does not mean that our aging population cannot learn how to operate, and operate well, they can, by your helping your parents and grandparents better understand and use the technology available to them. Even a simple 5 minute instruction over the phone on how to better use a smartphone or order phone, can be a tremendous help to those around you.
2. Help them fight isolation and depression. Studies on loneliness have been proven to worsen conditions in Older Americans. This is a risk that many of our parents and grandparents face as social isolation continues. Help stop this progression and engage with your older friends and relatives who may not have access to a virtual friend group or social network like you may. Consider setting a schedule of calls each week to give everyone something to plan for and look forward to. If you can share video on a call, pull out photos or old family photo albums to share together.
3. Ensure they have the legal planning they need right now. Covid-19 poses very real health risks to seniors and at risk individuals. It is important that everyone have an estate plan that includes health care documents. These health care documents should not only give legal authority to a trusted decision maker but also describe the health care that the person would want should he or she be unable to speak for him or herself. Talk to your loved ones about their planning and determine if it is current, or if it needs to be updated.
We know this topic may raise more questions than it answers. We encourage you to get the answers you need for yourself and your loved ones. Do not wait to contact us now, or at any point in the future, to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.