Helping Our Aging Loved Ones While Visiting During The Holidays: 5 Pieces of Information To Collect And Save

The next few weeks seem to be a busy time for adult children visiting their elder relatives. Here are 5 recommendations for adult children to gather important information that may be needed in case of a future health crisis. 

  • Medicare Card: With the Medicare Open Enrollment application period having just ended December 7th, many of our elders selected a new plan for 2022. Medicare has never been so complicated. It’s important to understand which plan a senior has selected and to review the list of benefits (and exclusions) that are offered through a given plan. As an adult caregiver, whether local or long-distance, pick a quiet one-on-one time to ask about any changes or updates that were decided on during the period from October-December. Perhaps the senior spoke with an insurance broker or their state’s Department of Insurance Seniors Health Insurance Program. Even if the senior receives Medicare insurance benefits through their state or federal retired employees’ program, the insurance carrier may change for the 2022 coverage period. Ask about, and document, the information that the senior shares. If a new Medicare card has been received, request a copy to store in a safe place.
  • Social Security Monthly Benefits Letter: The Social Security Administration, for the first time in decades, is providing a Cost of Living Adjustment to seniors’ monthly payments. Ask to get a copy of the 2022 SSA Benefits letter as it is source documentation for income taxes, Medicaid applications, and other applications that a senior may be asked to complete.
  • Current List of Medications: It is a good idea to have a list of current medications and dosing instructions close at hand in case a senior will see a new healthcare provider in 2022, have a medical emergency that requires a call to 911, or a trip to an Emergency Department. 
  • Patient Portal Login Information: An aging loved one should have access to healthcare providers’ patient portals. In some cases, the senior is computer savvy and tracks health information online. In other cases, no username and password have been created. The appointed healthcare power of attorney or a family caregiver with their loved one’s explicit permission may want to create that login information for ease of access to provider e-messaging, to review After Visit Summaries, to see recent lab results, and, in some cases, to facilitate a telehealth visit.
  • Photo ID: Whether the senior is still in possession of a driver’s license or the driver’s license has been turned in and exchanged for a State photo ID, it is helpful to have a scanned or photocopy of that picture ID. A photo ID is frequently requested for Medicaid, community assistance programs, healthcare providers, and hospitals. While it is easy to complete many assistance applications online now, attachments are still requested. The photo ID is one common form of identification that is convenient to have and keep stored in a safe place on your phone or computer.

If you or a loved one are looking for a care manager that you can trust, contact Preferred Living Solutions at 919-554-0675 and let us help you make a plan and ease the way. 

Written by: Vivian McLaurin, Certified Care Manager at Preferred Living Solutions.