If you don't already know about their health problems and medications, take this time to ask. How do their drugs make them feel? Are their prescriptions current?
Has their doctor or pharmacist reviewed all of their medications for side effects and potentially dangerous interactions or effect on driving? Their pharmacist can be a great resource.
Are they having any problems taking their medications? Do they always remember which medications to take and when? Would a pill organizer be helpful?
Make sure that they know that it is Medicare open enrollment season until December 31 and see if they need to update their coverage. See if they have any questions about Medicare or Medicaid or changes under the new health care law. Find help at www.aarp.org/medicare
See if they could use help with filling out forms, such as insurance claims.
This can be a difficult topic to broach, but it is important to discuss momeny matters before a crisis occurs. Ask your relatives if all of their financial information in one place, and where you can access it in an emergency?
Check on the condition of their mail. Are bills stacking up? Are there late notices? Do they have any bills they can't pay?
These are just preliminary conversations you should be having with your parents or other otherly relative. For more advice on steps you can take, visit www.aarp.org/caregiving.
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This article was originally published in December 2011.