Planning for Tough Times


End-of-life discussions are probably at the top of everyone’s “We’ll talk about it later,” list. But as our parents age, it is important to have certain decisions made before a medical emergency happens. 

Here are the basics you’ll need to discuss with your aging parents, who should think ahead and get their wishes on paper in case of an emergency and make sure there’s a plan in place for the people who will take care of them if they fall ill. 

Medical Directives

Advance directives help your loved ones make health choices according to your wishes. 

You can get a list of advance directive forms from the AARP, which help guide you through the process of deciding your future medical choices, and provides the proper legal form to use.

Copies of Important Documents

Make sure loved ones have easy access to copies of the following documents:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Advance medical directives
  • Living Will
  • Birth certificate (and death certificate of deceased spouse)
  • Other helpful information
  • List of doctors
  • List of medicines
  • Insurance policies (medical, life, home, car)
  • Bank account numbers
  • Acct numbers of monthly bills

In addition, make sure copies of these documents are in a safe place where adult children can access them, and that all parties involved have discussed a plan of action in case of medical emergency. These are not easy conversations to have, but they will result in much less stress for all involved in the event of an untimely emergency.

—Ann Levelle