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What Adult Children Need to Know About Senior Healthcare

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We know that, in many cases, adult children are the ones with the most questions about senior healthcare.

At ERH retirement communities, many of our residents work together with their children to make decision about their healthcare, and have made a collective decision to move into senior living. However, there are still many older adults who are led to join our communities as a final recourse after experiencing a life-altering event.


Adult children should discuss healthcare with their senior parents.

When a parent or other loved one has a stroke or experiences a sudden mental decline, children are often forced to make serious healthcare decisions like these in the moment, without adequate time to prepare.

As a parent’s treatment at the hospital draws to a close, their children are left scrambling for a solution.

If you’re parents haven’t planned for this moment, you find yourself suddenly thrust into the overwhelming responsibility of arranging for them.

There’s a simple way to avoid this pressure. Sit down with your parents and have a frank conversation about their healthcare. It’s not easy, but it’s a step you need to take to make sure that your loved ones have the best care that is available to them.

No one ever expects a life altering event to happen to their parents, and that is precisely why you should start working together now, so that you are prepared should the unimaginable happen.

Making the right decisions for senior care.

After your parents turned 65, they became eligible for the hundreds of senior healthcare plans offered through Medicare. Changes in benefits or premiums for the coming year are typically announced in September, and seniors are able to enroll in or make changes to existing Medicare Plans at different times throughout the year:

  • October 15-December 7. Open enrollment. You can opt into Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or choose a Medicare Advantage (Part C) and prescription coverage (Part D) plan.
  • January 1-February 17. Individual health and hospital coverage (parts A and B, respectively) offer general enrollment. This means you can opt out of Part C, but not into an Advantage plan.

If you’ve made the decision to help your parents plan for the future, you should think about reviewing your parents’ current plan. With even more Affordable Care changes coming up in 2014, now is an opportune moment to start talking about their senior healthcare needs.

When you sit down with your parents to decide on the insurance they need, there are a couple of things that you should be keeping in mind.

  1. Figure out what they need in the moment. Things like what kind of medications they take on a regular basis and traveling are all points to consider when considering options. A homebody has different needs than an adventuresome parent who plans to travel abroad, especially if they have any chronic illnesses.
  2. Expect the unexpected. Coverage shouldn’t just meet current needs. You and your parents need insurance that can cover any unexpected physical and medical needs that may arise—whether that’s nursing care, surgery, or any expensive prescriptions.
  3. Know your coverage. There’s a lot of confusion around what kind of senior healthcare coverage each plan offers, especially in regard to skilled nursing care. Most plans only offer short-term coverage for rehabilitation or other senior services. Be aware of the kind of care that will be covered under the plan you select.
  4. Reevaluate every fall.  There are hundreds of options for coverage from Medicare Advantage to supplements or Part-D plans, and both benefits and premiums can change regularly. Changes are announced right around October every year.

When you’re knowledgeable about the insurance benefits and providers that offer assistance and support, you can be thorough in your planning. The more thought you can put into planning for the future of a loved one, the more confident you can be in the kind of care they will receive. 

Download Our Retirement Community Decision Guide For Adult Children

Bryan Reynolds
August 02, 2013
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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