Q & A: Answers to Common Senior Living Questions
Q. Who Should I choose as my Power of Attorney (POA)?
A. A POA is a written document in which you (the “principal”) appoint someone else (called the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to act for you should you become unable to act for yourself (due to illness, for example). Your agent can do any legal act you ask him or her to perform. Since this individual will have ability to sign your name on checks, open and close bank accounts, make gifts of your assets, and possibly decide where you should live, you must have complete trust in the person or persons (co-agents) honesty as well as their ability to do the job in a stressful situation.
The normal tendency for aging parents is to name one or more of their adult children or other family members. If you believe your child/family member is completely trustworthy and up to the task, then certainly naming them as your agent is a fine idea. If you trust more than one child, but one lives closer to you, then consider naming the closer-living child as your initial agent, with the other child named in the document as the back-up agent if, for any reason, the initial Agent fails or refuses to serve.
Q. What cautions should I know about property deed transfers?
A. As a general rule, it’s not prudent to sign over the deed to your property to another, including relatives, unless you intend to give or sell the property to the other person. Once you sign over the deed to someone, you are no longer the owner of the property. The new owner can do whatever they want regarding the property, including evicting you from your home, mortgaging the property, or selling the home and keeping all of the proceeds.
Be cautious when someone is trying to persuade you to transfer the deed over to someone else. Tell them that you appreciate their concern, however you will consult with an attorney concerning the benefits and detriments of executing a deed transfer. Be advised that failing to read the deed, being infirm and elderly, or realizing you made a bad decision is not a valid legal defense to setting aside the deed transfer.
Transferring ownership of your property also makes you ineligible for certain senior citizen benefits such as home repair programs, rebates and other resources. Consider writing a will to convey your property, protecting your interests in the property until after your death.
Q. In what ways will my dietary needs change as I age?
A. Age-related changes can affect how your body processes food, which influences your dietary needs and affects your appetite. Some ways our body changes as we grow older include:
1) Our metabolism slows down.
This happens naturally, but it becomes more pronounced if you don’t get as much exercise as you should. When your metabolism slows, your body doesn’t burn as many calories, which means you need to eat less to stay at a healthy weight. As a result, the foods you eat should be as nutrient-rich as possible. Most women with average activity levels need about 1,800 calories per day. Men with an average activity level need about 2,300 calories each day. You’ll need fewer calories if you’re sedentary, more if you are very active.
2) Our digestive system slows down.
The body produces less of the fluids that it needs to process food in your digestive system when you get older. These changes can make it harder for your body to absorb important nutrients like folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.
3) Our appetite may change.
Many seniors take one or more medications for health conditions; these can cause side effects such as a lack of appetite or stomach upset, which can lead to poor nutrition.
4) Our emotional health may be affected.
Seniors who feel depressed or lonely often lose interest in eating. On the other hand, emotional issues may cause some people to eat more and gain unwanted pounds.
Q. What’s an easy way to find a senior living residence in my area?
A. Simply contact Alternatives for Seniors. The alternativesforseniors.com website offers a powerful and easily-to-use search function that helps you find a senior apartment, independent-living, assisted-living, or other continuing-care community in your area. You can also call a Senior Specialist at Alternatives for Seniors at (888) WE-ASSIST (888-932-7747) to ask questions and receive free placement assistance.
BLOG Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014
Writer: Ryan Allen