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Have your elderly parents designated their powers of attorney?

Whether you see your parents once or twice a week or only once a year, if you are in your 40s or older, chances are that you are subtly evaluating them for the inevitable signs of aging and decline. Since many elderly parents try to mask any evidence that they are anything less than hale and hearty, this is a good thing.

It's natural for them to be in denial of the fact that they are not physically or mentally capable of performing tasks or doing activities they've done for decades. Rather than face this unpleasantness head-on with a frank discussion, aging parents tend to adjust their normal routines to avoid the problems.

Denial is common in adult children too. They don't want to face the facet that the family roles are being shaken up.However, they need to step up to the plate and make sure that their parents are in a safe environment.

Insuring their physical safety is paramount. Adaptive elements like Medic Alert buttons and safety bars in the bathroom can be introduced in increments to minimize the disruption. It is also important to talk about other issues that can be uncomfortable to address.

Adult children should know if their parents have given their powers of attorney to anyone, if they have designated a health care proxy and have drawn up both living and testamentary wills. Depending on your lifelong relationship with your parents, these can be difficult questions to ask. However, they are necessary.

Parents may feel that their adult children are needlessly nosing around in their financial affairs. It might be a good idea to arrange for them to speak to a neutral party that provides services and support to senior citizens. They can offer them advice about getting the necessary financial documents drawn up by a legal professional. Colorado attorneys experienced in estate planning can help ensure that they have the documents in place to see that their wishes are carried out if they become incapacitated and after death.

Source:, "When Should You Step In to Help Your Parents?" Eileen Beal, Jun. 25, 2014

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