Brenda Lyle – Hometown News

Q:  Where can I put the “important information” I need to share?

A:  I have probably met with 10,000 families during my career as a Certified Care Manager. A phrase I often hear from adult children is, “I had no idea my parents ” (fill in the blank). Often, adult children are left in the dark about their aging parents’ health, legal and financial matters. This causes big problems when they become the decision maker for a parent in declining health.

The Basics – Most adult children do not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. To be involved in your medical affairs, they will need a copy of your insurance cards and an explanation of your coverage. Tell them if you have an Advantage Plan or traditional Medicare (and what that means). If you also have Medicaid, explain 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 designee access your bank and credit card accounts if needed?

Prepaid Funeral – If this has been purchased, the person designated to carry out your wishes must have this information.  Without it, your family may spend money needlessly.

Personal Planning Guide – 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 more. Download it at or pick up a copy in person. We recommend placing it in a binder with copies of your other important documents. Then, store the binder somewhere easily accessible to the appropriate parties (NOT in your bank’s safety deposit box).

Questions? 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.