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A couple things happened to us when we were new to taking care of my in-laws bills, insurance claims, etc.


1. Dad's wallet went missing during a hospital visit. We don't believe it was stolen, but sent to the laundry. Either way, EVERYTHING was in his wallet. Social Security card, Driver's License, credit cards, debit card, etc. Thankfully, no one stole his identity or cleaned out their bank account.


Because the surgery made Dad unable to really think straight for months, he couldn't even tell us which credit cards he had. "I don't know, the amount is paid online automatically every month and I don't even look at it." To get a new drivers license, you have to have a social security card. To get a new social security card, you have to have a valid photo id. See the problem there?


Lesson learned---make copies (front and back) of ALL important things in wallets and purses. To this day, Dad does not have an SS card or a Driver's license. We gave up.


2. While waiting for a room at an assisted living facility, we hired in-home care (8 hours/overnight). They were highly rated and did a great job. However, when we tried to file a claim with their Long Term Care insurance company, it turns out the company must be a "licensed HEALTH care" company. We were out $6,200!


Lesson learned--When considering in-home care and are hoping that a Long Term Care Insurance policy will cover the cost, make certain the company is a "licensed home health care provider" and not just a company that calls itself In Home Care. We didn't know to ask. Insurance companies are in the business of keeping their money.

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We had some good in-home caregivers and some bad ones for my elderly parents who insisted on living in their own apartment even when they were no longer able to care for themselves. Sad to say, don't trust strangers with your parents. Your parents will trust them because they have to, and it can and does cause conflicts. After Dad died I found that Mom was paying $400/week for groceries. This was more than triple what it had been. Her aid was buying groceries for her own family at the same time and Mom was paying her back without checking the receipt. When this was brought to her attention Mom became flustered and insisted I was wrong. They had a large safe with important papers and valuable jewelry in it. When I noticed the aid paying too much attention, I took pictures of everything of value in the safe and their drawers and also took the written combination before it was found and used. I also had pictures of all of their medications, contact information for all doctors, and a medical power of attorney even though they insisted they could make decisions (Dad had dementia and Mom was very hard of hearing.) This helped me care for them during many hospitalizations, and get care they didn't know was available. It also helped their doctors, since I was able to communicate both ways.
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Here is what I have done for myself as a sole senior (69) living alone. Get a 3 ring binder, a colorful one that can be easily found. A sample of every bill (gas&elec. auto ins., Blue Cross, property tax bill, a recent veterinary bill (shows last vaccines etc-write age of animal, name, quirks, brand of food used)...plus add a LIST of friends, family, dog sitters, neighbors you trust..on one sheet with phone, email, address. These paper bills (or a print out of online charges) can help a forgetful senior, a post-surgery parent, or anyone who has to help figure out daily life. I just add in NEW bills, as needed, just ONE sample of a paid bill gives their address, your account number, etc. and last bill charge (so if it jumps $$ you can see an average one) While most paperwork of life goes into a box for taxes, etc. for the calaneder year, it is much easier, in any emergency, especially an earthquake/fire/flood, to have this binder handy. It can be taken with you, or easily seen by the family, or emergency care people who enter the house to help. List who is your attorney, your MD, where the WILL is, copy of home title, car title. etc. MY binder is a very loud blue with big yellow "Minions" on the cover--can't miss it. My fancy retirement management company has a full online version of everything I can "fax and scan" papers into--but that means internet access, and electricity. If there is a fire or other emergency this binder is a MUCH easier solution. ( And if I forget if I paid annual property tax, or car ins. this helps.) I am almost ready to use a protected 'single password' app for online groups and sites I use a lot.
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JudySai422 - I'm pretty sure she is referring to a APP called 1 Password. Not necessarily having one password for everything. And that IS a secure and sane method to keep a password vault. It is an excellent program.
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When going to Secretary of State for a new drivers license I was told to bring a birth certificate, utility bill and bank statements with their name on it. Passport has their picture. Bring that if they have one. My bank had a picture on file. I obtained a copy of that. I do not have a passport, but the copy of the picture from my bank worked. I hope this helps.
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LTC policies vary in requirements for providers so be sure to check the policy. A lot of older policies require agencies to be "licensed home health" but most newer ones are worded differently since home health agencies generally don't provide non-medical assistance other than bathing. Even if the requirement is stated in the policy, check with the insurer; some are more customer friendly and accept other agencies.

The "private pay lead time" is called the "elimination period" and it is a feature that is selected when the policy is written. It is the equivalent of a deductible that must be satisfied before the policy will pay. The policy holder must pay for the first X number of days of service and it can be zero.
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Thanks for these. And for the reminders of having passwords & important papers up to date & accessible.

Another tip -- take pictures of the meds they take & keep on your phone. I did this with my own meds, my husband's, and mom's, which each having its own album.
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Sankarrph, while having one password is convenient, it is also a security risk. If someone hacks your password, they will be able to access all of your accounts. All sites that have any financial implications should have a unique password that is changed every 6 months or so. Get an address book and keep the passwords in there. It should be in a secure location like a safe. Your POA should know where it is kept.
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I’d add here many LTHC insurers have a private pay lead time. Ours had 180 days, 6 months.
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I am 67. I had a heart attack. After recovery from it I made my life simple
I use one password program to have all log in safe. All documents are in digital and in drop box. Family important folder with all valuable information for kids are shared. Kids have the master password for 1 password. Anything happens to me they can takeover the affairs easily. After 70 parents needs to share their affairs with kids and update them every year.
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Thanks for sharing. And of course the other thing they say to never ever carry your SS card with you. A lot of elderly do because in the past that’s what they did. So check and see everyone... and get them out of their wallets. That’s why finally Medicare woke up and stopped using the SSN! Took them long enough. I agree on taking photos. I have them on my phone in case dad is ever admitted at the hospital and we forget the real cards. Photos of insurance, Medicare and ID. Usually not an issue because the nursing home sends all his info with him but FYI.
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Thank you for sharing. We have never left wallets with family when in the hospital. Once they are admitted, we put their wallet in our purse/handbag and keep it.

You bring up a good point about the online banking, computer and email. It is really important to have a list of the various passwords available. We discovered that one bank did not allow POA access to online banking, but another did. If Stepdad had had a list of passwords, it would have been easier. Of course now that he has passed, POA is not valid and Will takes over. Executrix was POA, so a bit easier there.
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