Has Anyone Seen My Exit File!

Posted on

Jun 08, 2017

Share This
As a Geriatric Care Manager, I have the honor of meeting so many interesting and different people! I always believe we can teach each other something new.
One of my most recent lesson was on organization and humor. I was asked to help a couple with some organization of their legal and financial matters. This couple referred to their current filing system as their Exit File! This is a wonderful and to the point title for some very important documents. They were wise enough to have told their loved ones about what was in this file and where exactly it was located. This is a very good first step in being organized while also injecting a flair of humor.

So, whats in YOUR Exit File? Here are some suggestions to what you will need to share with your loved ones.

Final arrangements/wishes
Power of attorney papers
Where the original Will is located
What and where the financial documents are located
Safety Deposit information
Passwords for accounts/on-line account information

There is another very important file to share with your loved ones while you are still healthy and well. This file will have some important details that they may need to attend to while you are incapacitated. For example, if you are unfortunately hospitalized in the middle of the night and your daughter/ Medical Power of Attorney is called and notified, she will need a file of your health history, a copy of the Power of Attorney, your Living will, phone numbers of neighbors that will take care of your cat, as well as phone number for your primary care physician, general medications (and Pharmacy choice) and allergies. A very thorough file would also include for your Power of Attorney, a copy of: your insurance card(s), Social Security Card, and Photo I.D.

Having this information may seem very over the top until your loved ones are put in the unfortunate position of finding this information without your help. Make it is easy for them because as you already know, they will be in a tough situation. Families are beginning to find it more normal to talk about these issues and to be proactive in their plan of care. This actually can be a very liberating feeling when you can be assured that your family knows, wheres the EXIT file!



Editors Note: This article was submitted by: Paula McCormick LSW Licensed Geriatric Social Worker with Columbine Caregivers and Elder Quest Care Management Services. She may be reached at 970-985-5950 or by email at: elderquestgj@gmail.com.

Other Articles You May Like

Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors to Monitor

The Mayo Clinic (www.mayo.org) states that in addition to financial limitations, physical, social, and psychological factors contribute to senior malnutrition, impeding seniors' ability to maintain a diet that provides the necessary balance of nutrients for healthful living.Below are leading contributing causes of senior malnutrition:Debilitating conditions that limit seniors ability to get out to shop, prepare meals and feed themselvesFixed incomes can prevent seniors from being able to purchase the groceries they need to stay nourished.Difficulty chewing and swallowing as a result of diseases such as Parkinson's, dry mouth caused by some medications, dental conditions, and poorly fitting denturesFrailty due to loss of muscle mass and fat, which can alter body chemistry, diminishing appetite, especially in seniors with serious illnessesMedications, such as some antidepressants, blood pressure, and osteoporosis drugs that diminish appetite alter the flavor of foods, and interfere with absorption of nutrientsReduced absorption of nutrients as a result of some physiological changes due to aging. For instance, in many seniors, reduced production of digestive enzymes and acids interferes with the breakdown of protein and absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B-12, folate, calcium, and iron. Some illnesses, such as gastrointestinal cancers, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease, can also cause this problem.Diminished sense of taste or smell that often occurs with aging. Some medications and illnesses accelerate or intensify this loss, depriving seniors of some of the pleasure associated with eating. These factors can affect appetite. Bland, medically prescribed diets can have the same effect. Natural flavor enhancers like garlic, onions, and spices can help counteract this.Dementia, which often prevents individuals from recognizing the need to eat. Some people with dementia need to be reminded to swallow.Depression, due to multiple causes such as grief, loneliness, retirement, poor health, and medications. Depression affects about 6 million American seniors.Alcoholism, which is often a hidden problem in the senior population, decreases appetite, destroys nutrients, and negatively affects seniors ability to care for themselves How Comfort Keepers can helpComfort Keepers can provide the assistance needed to help promote heart health, starting with nutrition. Whether a special diet has been prescribed or all required is a healthier meal plan, our caregivers, who we call Comfort Keepers, work with our clients to ensure they benefit from foods that promote optimum wellness.At Comfort Keepers, we believe in Elevating the Human Spirit by providing our clients with both assistance and daily moments of joy. With the help of our trained Comfort Keepers, seniors can enjoy a healthy lifestyle while finding pleasure in the everyday moments that make life worth living.

Dietary Changes as We Age - Comfort Keepers Western Slope

One in three hospital patients is malnourished upon admission and almost one-third of U.S. patients (31 percent) experiences declines in nutritional status while in the hospital.Dietary needs evolve as people age, and seniors need to know how to manage those changes to maintain physical health and wellness. Older adults need to take an active role in shaping their diet and nutrition habits to ensure more energy, better disease prevention and quality of life.Seniors should consult their physician to discuss their individual needs. Healthcare professionals can also help seniors and their families create and implement healthy eating plans.These plans often include:         Increased protein and fiber intake. Protein and fiber are important nutrients for seniors. Foods high in fiber can help maintain healthy digestive systems as we age, and increasing protein intake can help seniors increase or maintain energy and strength.          Whole grains have multiple benefits. Whole grains are also fiber-rich foods that not only aid the digestive process but promote healthy hearts for seniors. Cereal, rice and bread made with whole grains can easily be found at any grocery store and provide several serving choices to meet recommended daily requirements.         Calcium is a key component in maintaining bone strength. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis, especially when calcium intake is consistent. Preventing osteoporosis is critical for seniors especially those that are at risk for falls.         Hydration is critical at any age. Physical changes that occur with age make hydration even more important for older adults. For those that are less inclined to drink water, there are alternatives milk, juice and broth are all hydrating liquids, and there are hydrating foods including watermelon, cucumbers and grapes. If engaging in good eating habits is a struggle, there are steps seniors can take to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition. In addition to consulting a physician about diet or health concerns they might have, they can also try the following tactics to get back on the right track:         Make meals a social occasion Sharing a meal is one of the most enjoyable ways to ensure that someone is eating well. This can include making something healthy and delicious for others, or reaching out to people that love to cook healthy food and offering them some company at mealtimes.         Make healthy eating fit your budget Good food doesnt have to be expensive. A doctor or nutritionist can point patients to budget friendly, nutritious food options. And maintaining a healthy lifestyle saves money on medical care in the future.         Shop for healthy foods Having a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meal options is one of the most important steps to maintaining a balanced diet.          Encourage people to ask for help If someone has concerns about their ability to plan healthy meals, shop for the groceries or if they just arent getting the nutrition they need, tell them to ask for help! In-home caregivers, delivery services, family, friends and medical professionals can all help older adults reach their nutrition goals.Comfort Keepers Can HelpIf someone is struggling to maintain healthy eating habits, consider getting support from the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers. Our caregivers can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and can help support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.ReferencesMayo Clinic. Senior health: How to prevent and detect malnutrition. Web. 2017.Next Avenue, Malnutrition is Affecting Too Many Older Adults. Web. 2016.  Public Health Post. Malnutrition in Older Adults. Web. 2017  Healthline. How Your Nutritional Needs Change as you Age. Web. 2017.

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A Last Will & Testament, commonly referred to as a Will, is a legal document that expresses a person's wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and the management of their affairs after their death. It serves as a written record of how an individual wants their property and belongings to be handled, including who should inherit their assets, who should be appointed as guardians for minor children, and any other specific instructions they may have regarding their final wishes when they are gone.  Many people confuse a Will with a Living Will which is a much different document that takes effect while you are alive!  Here in Florida, it generally covers three conditions and states that if you have: a terminal condition; end stage condition; or if you are in a persistent vegetative state, where in the opinion of two doctors, there is not reasonable medical hope of recovery, that you do not want to be kept alive by machines.  Again, a very different purpose than your Last Will & Testament. The main purposes of a Last Will & Testament are:Asset Distribution: A Will allows individuals to specify how their property, such as real estate, investments, bank accounts, personal belongings, and other assets, should be distributed among their beneficiaries or heirs. Without a Will, the distribution of assets typically follows the laws of intestacy, which may not align with the deceased person's preferences.Guardianship designation: If the deceased person has minor children, a Will can designate a guardian who will be responsible for their care and upbringing. This allows parents to have a say in who will be responsible for their children's well-being if they pass away and not leave it solely up to a judge with no input from them.Personal Representative Appointment: A Will typically appoints what is referred to in Florida as a personal Representative.  Other states call the persona and Executor.  This person is responsible for ensuring that the deceased person's wishes, as outlined in the Will, are carried out. The Personal Representative manages the administrative tasks, such as paying outstanding debts, filing tax returns, and distributing assets according to the instructions provided in the Will.Avoiding potential conflicts: This is a big issue, especially in situations where there is a second or third marriage involved and there are children from a prior relationship.  A well-drafted Will can help minimize conflicts among family members or other potential beneficiaries, as it provides clear instructions on asset distribution and removes ambiguity. To be legally valid in Florida, a Will requires certain formalities, such as being in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the Will) and witnessed by two witnesses.  Also it is best to have the testators signature and the witnesses signatures acknowledged by a Notary Public.  This makes the Will a self-proving Will which avoids the necessity of having to find the witnesses when the testator passes.Will ContestsContesting a Last Will & Testament means challenging its validity or certain provisions within it. There are a number of grounds on which a Will can be contested in Florida. Some of the typical reasons for contesting a Will include: Lack of testamentary capacity: This refers to the testator's mental ability to understand the nature and significance of creating a Will. If it can be demonstrated that the testator lacked the necessary mental capacity at the time of creating the Will, it may be deemed invalid. Factors that can affect testamentary capacity include mental illness, senility, or undue influence.Undue influence: If it can be proven that the testator was coerced, manipulated, or unduly influenced by another person when creating the Will, it may be contested. Undue influence typically involves someone exerting pressure on the testator to make decisions against their own wishes or best interests.  It is often a caregiver who cuts off outsiders from contact with the testator.  It can be a child, a spouse, a home health aid of trusted advisor.Fraud or forgery: If there is evidence to suggest that the Will was forged or that fraud was involved in its creation, it can be contested. This may include situations where someone impersonates the testator, forges their signature, or makes fraudulent changes to the Will.Improper execution: Wills must generally meet certain formalities to be considered valid. If the Will was not properly executed according to the legal requirements of the jurisdiction, such as lack of witnesses or failure to sign the document correctly, it can be contested.  This often occurs when someone tries to use a do it yourself Will kit.  While DIY may be good for home improvement projects, it is best to consult professionals when planning to disburse your hard-earned assets.Mistake or ambiguity: Another problem with DIY Will kits are mistakes or ambiguities in the Will that make it unclear or open to interpretation.  In such cases it may be contested. This can occur when the language used in the Will is vague, contradictory, or inconsistent, leading to disputes among beneficiaries.Revocation or subsequent Will: If a more recent Will is discovered that explicitly revokes or replaces the previous Will, the newer version may be contested based upon all of the grounds discussed above.It's important to note that contesting a Will can be a complex legal process, and the specific grounds for a challenge must be explored thoroughly as a Will contest is expensive and time-consuming as well as very difficult to win.  That is why your best course of action to avoid this for your family is to work with a team of professionals, including your lawyer, investment advisor and accountant, to develop an estate plan that best fits your intentions, and prepares you and your family for when life happens.