New! 3GenFamily.com – Our New Website Is Now Live

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

3GenFamily Blog has moved to a new location on the web.

Please come visit us at 3GenFamily.com

Long Distance Caregiving for a Parent While Raising Teens and Balancing Work and Home

The past 16 months has been an amazing and eventful time for me as a long distance caregiver for my 83 year old father, parent of two teen boys, spouse and juggler of work and home life. When I started this blog, I had no idea I would meet so many dedicated and fascinating people also working to get the best information into the hands of readers like you.

Because there is still a huge need for real answers to many of life’s toughest situations, I am expanding this blog to meet those needs. While I am grateful to WordPress.com for having a perfect place to start a blog, it is time to move to our own website.

I’ll be offering you even more honest content and real life ideas that work for caregivers, parents and anyone struggling to balance the conflicting priorities of work and home life.

Please come visit us at 3GenFamily.com

One housekeeping note: If you signed up to receive this blog via email or RSS from Feedburner, you will need to sign up again at 3GenFamily.com. I am sorry for the inconvenience. There isn’t a way for me to just move your settings over to the new website.

Don’t miss a single post. The latest post discusses 110 Tips for Getting Into the College of Your Choice.

Please come visit us at 3GenFamily.com

Articles on Reducing Conflict with Adult Siblings, Getting Into the College Your Child Dreams About, Surviving Long Distance Caregiving

I will be writing more of the types of article you have come to expect from 3GenFamily Blog. And, there will be new features based on requests and comments I have received from our readers. The topics will still relate to being sandwiched in between two generations — our aging parents who increasingly need our help and our children who are not yet ready to fly into the world.

Somewhere in there, each of us also needs to make a space for ourselves for meaningful work and for celebrating life’s small and large personal successes. Buried between the lines is the emotional turmoil of conflict with our adult siblings and the the lack of understanding of bosses and coworkers who haven’t reached these stages of life.

How do you explain an issue to someone who has no frame of reference?

Please come visit us at 3GenFamily.com

Best Regards,

CK Wilde

© 2008 CK Wilde. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to link to this post but you must have prior written permission to reproduce this post either whole or in part. Please use the comments to request permission.

New! Get 3GenFamily Blog Posts By Email

Some readers have asked to receive these blog posts via email. Now you can.

Three Easy Steps to Get 3GenFamily Blog by Email

  1. Click on the “Subscribe to 3GenFamily Blog by email” link at the top of the right hand column on this page. You will be taken to the sign up page at Feedburner.
  2. Tell us the email address where you want to read this blog.
  3. Confirm your request by clicking the link in the confirmation email.

That’s it!

When I post to this blog, you’ll receive a digest on that day.

Just one email.

You won’t be bombarded with posts every few hours. If there are no posts, you don’t receive any email

Don’t miss a single post. Sign up today. It’s so easy!

Thank You OurAlzheimers.com!

3GenFamily Blog has moved to a new location on the web.

Please come visit us at 3GenFamily.com

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

When I launched 3GenFamily Blog on WordPress.com, it was with the intention of sharing a wide variety of issues and ideas about long distance caregiving to help others traveling the same road. I’ve tried to focus on substantive information rather than just telling stories of life caring for an elder with dementia.

When I first started searching for answers to my questions, I didn’t always find them. Sometimes I just didn’t know what search terms to use. To make things easier for others, I have tried to use phrases in my titles and content that I would have searched.

So, it was a very pleasant surprise to discover that HealthCentral.com’s website — OurAlzheimers.com — named 3GenFamily Blog a Top Alzheimer’s Site for 2007.

Thank You!

If you are a caregiver or family member of someone with dementia, Alzheimer’s being the most common form, please check out the resources available on all of the top sites in the link above. There is great information and commentary on the sites. Check them out!

Is It Time for an Estate Planning Checkup for Your Parents or You?

3GenFamily Blog has moved to a new location on the web.

Please come visit us at 3GenFamily.com

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

Is your family like most others? Have your parents (or you) done some estate planning (see below for resources) and then filed the documents away to gather dust and cobwebs until they are needed?

Why do I ask? Because if an illness or accident suddenly happened, you just might discover that those documents are out of date and don’t do the job they were supposed to do!

In spite of the changes that my Dad made in recent years to his documents, he didn’t update all of them. Now as his executrix, I am discovering that some of the documents don’t do what he and my mom originally wanted.

As you may know from my previous posts, my father was frugal beyond belief. He never understood why attorneys got paid so much and tried to avoid using them whenever he could. But, he didn’t totally ignore estate planning.

Urged on by my mother, he got the requisite documents done. And, life events (my mom’s death, remarriage, divorce) forced him to update his will, financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney several times.

But, he never got help with the total picture. So now, I’m looking at estate taxes that wouldn’t have to be paid if Dad had just gotten someone to review his entire estate periodically.

No, not Federal Estate tax. Congress changed the law to increase the amount that is exempt from tax. I’m dealing with NJ Estate tax.

You see, when Congress changed the the federal tax, it threw the states into a tizzy at the prospect of losing desperately needed tax revenue. Every state has dealt with it differently. NJ did something unique — kept the tax rules that were in effect in 2001.

So what should my Dad have done?

Sit down every few years and double check that all of these estate planning documents still met his needs. And, he really should have had an attorney look at them.

What documents am I talking about?

1. Your will – Everyone should have one even if you think you don’t have many assets. The laws of Intestacy (dying without a will) in your state will dictate how your property should be distributed. But, it may not be the way you would want it. Why chance it?

2. Name beneficiaries for all bank accounts, IRAs and securities — The accounts will go to the person you name rather than into your estate and may save grief later. My father had several accounts that did not have beneficiary designations. Bank employees seem to be totally clueless about this.

3. Buy life insurance if people depend on you for support — Keeping small policies in force for elderly parents could help pay the funeral and other expenses if they are paid up policies. Accident policies are a waste of money for most seniors because the majority of our elders die from medical problems, not accidents. My father had 3 accident policies that were worthless.

4. Make out a Living Will or medical power of attorney — I discussed the importance of this in my previous post about getting a Living Will.

5. Make a financial power of attorney — When my father was rushed to the hospital and bounced in and out of rehab for 3 months, I was able to step in to pay his bills and handle his affairs because the power of attorney was in place. It’s a good idea to talk with your parent about bills and taxes before a crisis happens. Know what’s due when and where the banking records are.

6. Plan for children with special needs — Along with the will, you may need other arrangements to care for a special needs child. Don’t assume that the executor will know what you intended. Few of us read minds very well. Siblings don’t always get along. Spell it out.

7. Let your executor know where everything is located — Whether you use a specially designed estate planning organizer or just a spiral bound notebook, mark down where all of the documents are. Organize and label them. Write down the names and addresses of your attorney, accountant, banks and other key contacts. Document everything that is pertinent to your finances and life.

Here are a few resources to help

Wills and Estate Planning Information at NOLO.com

Get Organized Now” on the Nolo Press website

Find an attorney who specializes in Elder Law

Estate Planning 101 from FindLaw.com

Don’t put off asking your parents about this. You aren’t prying. You are helping them achieve their final wishes.

Do be respectful if you are not designated to handle their affairs. Circumstances change. Your aging parents may need your help in the future if the other person can’t be there. You want to remain on good terms with your family.

Most important, toss away the urge to daydream happily about your future inheritance. If you are in charge of the estate, your elders come first. You may need to make decisions to spend that money for home health care, assisted living or a nursing home. Your focus must remain on doing your utmost to meet your parents’ needs.

After it’s all over, you’ll be very glad you did. (more about the tough decisions I faced in the next post)