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Question We are selling my mom's house and I am not sure what to change her address to—the assisted living facility where she resides, or my address so I am sure to receive anything important. Thoughts? Answers It depends on a bunch of factors. A couple questions to ask include: Do you live near the assisted living facility and will be visiting her regularly to bring her "social mail"? Who takes care of her "business mail"—Does she handle her own checkbook, or do you take care of all of that?   You may decide to have important mail sent to your house to make sure it isn't lost and you can handle it promptly. But have social mail sent to her—greeting cards, newspapers, magazines, etc., if you don't visit her often.   If you have financial power of attorney (POA) or an agreement with your mom to help her pay the bills, I'd have the mail sent to you and then you can hand deliver personal mail when you visit (at least weekly).     If you have POA, like the others have said, make your address her legal address so all bills, tax documents, bank statements, brokerage statements, Medicare EOB, and anything from Social Security, etc., come to your address. This will be the address that you will use for her for tax document and anything legal.   You could give her Assisted Living address to friends and family who might want to write to her. Many assisted living places do not have a secured mailbox for the residents, so keep that in mind. Sometimes a resident may pick up the mail of others by mistake or because they have a mental impairment.     You probably need to change her address officially to your address on Medicare and Social Security. Sometimes this is a problem when picking a Medicare plan since they are by area. But if you are not very far from her, this is no big deal.   If there is a need, now or later on, she needs to add your name to the Medicare and Social Security file so that you can talk to them about any matter. If she becomes mentally incapacitated, you will have to become a Representative Payee on Social Security. This only means that you are authorized to spend this money for her benefit and will have to account for such with them. 
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  Question What do I need to know about hiring an insured caregiver?   Answer If it is time to hire an in-home caregiver, make sure the person you hire is adequately insured.  Whether the caregiver is employed by a service or is an independent contractor, it is important to verify the following:   Workers Compensation. The caregiver should furnish proof of their insurance that covers medical bills and lost income should the worker be injured on the job.  General Liability. This covers claims of bodily injury or property damage should the caregiver's services injure someone or damage a customer's property. Professional Liability. Some caregivers possess advanced medical certifications and training. In these instances, a general liability policy might not be sufficient to cover their errors, if one should occur. They might need professional liability insurance. Auto. If the caregiver drives a client to and from errands, appointments, etc., verify that his auto insurance will cover damage to vehicles and bodily injury to passengers or others and that the limit of insurance available for such claims is sufficient. You may be asked to enter into a contract with the caregiver or their employer. That contract could contain clauses that expose you to financial liability that falls outside your homeowner's liability. Talk with your insurance agent or broker about the extent to which your homeower's policy covers in-home caregivers.  
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Question My sister and I are struggling with juggling the caregiving schedule.  We both live an hour away from our mom and are looking for a way to share a calendar and a To Do List. It seems like there should be an easy-to-use tool for this. I'm not looking to recruit volunteers, etc. We just need to be able to look at the caregiver schedule and check in on our To Do List.   Any suggestions?  I haven't found anything online that looks user friendly.   Answer I wrote a column about this! "Apps to Help Caregivers Stay Organized" here on the AARP Family Caregiving website. Lotsa Helping Hands focuses more on coordinating a lot of volunteers, and CaringBridge has an emphasis on providing updates to a wide number of people who are following the care journey—but also has shared calendar and task options. Carezone is a bit more focused on managing various aspects of caregiving and includes a shared calendar and task list, as well as medication lists, automatic reminders, and many other features but you can choose to use just the features you want to use.   I'm partial to apps and sites that I can use both on my computer and on my phone and tablet. There are many "to do list" apps—I use Wunderlist for a task list, and you can create lists that you do then invite other people to, so they can also add tasks and also check off tasks. You can assign tasks to people as well. I use it for my personal, work and caregiving. For a calendar I primarily just use my iCal on my Apple products and send my sister mtg invitations and vice versa. Then we both have the appointments in our personal devices that we also use for the rest of our life. I have color coded so that I can easily see which appts are for me, those I'm caring for, work etc. Google calendar is very similar.   I provide more tips in my column, "6 Tips for Choosing Family Caregiving Technology"!  
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Question Where do I go to sign up to care for my parents and get paid?     Answer The first place to start depends on what state you live in. Here in Florida, the Senior Resource Alliance is the place to start. Find your state's equivalent to that. Your loved one will have to qualify for what is called a Medicaid Waiver. So, once you find your state's equivalent to a Senior Resource Alliance, you call them and tell them you are looking for a "home and community-based Medicaid waiver for a long-term care program" for your loved one. They will walk you through the process from this point.
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Question How do I protect my mother's financial assets from irresponsible or abusive relatives?   Answer  Contacting the bank sounds like a good idea. Your mother may need to be present, as it is her account. You may want to be added to her accounts or she can appoint you as her "Power of Attorney".     Many states have laws in place to protect their senior residents. Elder financial abuse and exploitation are not taken lightly, and often come with higher criminal penalties. If there is imminent danger to your mother, 911 is always the first course of action. Theft of any kind should be reported to law enforcement. You may find helpful information through your state's Adult Protective Services, and any local or state social services agencies. Your state should also have an elder abuse hotline that you can find through the National Center on Elder Abuse (   The bank should be made aware of this situation ASAP, whether it is through the authorities or through you. Just please know that the bank will probably not speak with you about much detail unless your name is on the account or your mother designated you as her agent.
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