Brenda Lyle – Florida Today

Q: Is there some sort of template for “important information” I can share with my adult children?

A:  I have probably met with 10,000 families during my career as a Certified Care Manager. One of the things I hear often from adult children is, “I didn’t know my parents had (fill in the blank).” Some adult children are completely in the dark when it comes to understanding their aging parents’ health, legal and financial matters. This causes a huge predicament when the adult child must become the decision maker for a parent in declining health.

The Basics

Most adult children do not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. If they are ultimately to be involved in your medical affairs, they will need a copy of your insurance cards and an explanation of your coverage. Let them know if you have an Advantage Plan instead of traditional Medicare and tell them what that means. If you have Medicaid in addition to Medicare, educate your adult child on those benefits also.

Estate Planning

Remember to provide your Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate and Executor of your estate with a copy of the appropriate documents. Having them locked away somewhere will not help your adult children. Can your designated financial power of attorney access your bank and credit card accounts if needed?  Many banks allow a DPOA to set up their own username and password to help manage your account when this is needed.

Prepaid Funeral

If this has been purchased, the person designated to carry out your wishes must have this information.  Without this knowledge, your family members may spend money on something you have already paid for.

Computer passwords? Pet information? Garage code? One Senior Place offers a “Personal Planning Guide” for you to complete and share with family members. This free booklet allows you to record information about your health, finances, legal documents and much more. Download it at or pick up a copy in person. We recommend placing this guide in a binder with copies of your legal documents and other important information. Then store the binder in an easily accessible location for the appropriate parties. DO NOT put it in the safety deposit box at your bank.

Some seniors just aren’t comfortable sharing private, sensitive information with their adult children. But it is essential, if you want them to be properly prepared –should they need to manage your affairs. One Senior Place can help. Ask for a free consultation with one of our Certified Care Managers and plan ahead for those you love.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.