Planning ahead can save both time and stress should you find yourself in an emergency situation concerning your parent. This is incredibly important if you don’t live close by. Below we explore the things you should consider finding out about before you actually need them:
Neighbours and friends
You might think this is stating the obvious, but would you know how to contact friends and neighbours, should you need to call on them, particularly if you don’t live close by? Their contact details are always worth having.
Is there a spare set somewhere? Do you have a spare set? Can you put a key safe outside? Do your parents have a burglar alarm, do you know the code? Are there other keys required, such as keys for the garage, garden shed or a desk where all the useful information may be stored, where are they? Make sure you find out and get spare keys cut if necessary for peace of mind.
Other contact details
It is always a good idea to have a list of all relevant contacts, including your parent’s GP, the local vicar, priest or rabbi, any carers or regular visitors, as well as lawyers, accountants and other key people you will need to contact should the need arise.
Medication and medical history
Knowing allergies, previous surgeries, chronic conditions, current medication, especially if your parent is on blood thinners like warfarin, is really important and can help in an emergency situation out of hours, when the doctor cannot be contacted..
Having access to passwords can potentially be a legal minefield around agreements with providers and data protection. With consent from your parent, it is worth knowing the main login details and password to a computer, with details of online accounts, and what is stored where on the computer such as photographs.
You should check with your parent that they have written a will and that you know where the latest copy is. You should also discuss with them drawing up a Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive well in advance of potential need for either.
Create a folder of all information that you might need one day. Encourage your parents, relatives or friends to compile a folder of all information or directions of where to find everything you may need. Key information for the folder should include:
- Bank account details
- National Insurance number
- Passport number
- Where to find passports, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate
- Vehicle ownership paperwork
- Personal and other insurance details, including private health insurance details and house insurance
- Important contact details – GP, carers, other agencies, neighbours and other relevant people
- Copy of the will – or where to find it, as well as any relevant lists of bequests
- Copy of any Power of Attorney and Advance Directive
- Keys, safe and security alarm details
- And finally, but probably No 1 on many lists: instructions for what to do with the pets!
There may be other things to consider but this is a great starting point to get the thinking juices flowing.