Managing the Care and Finances of a Loved One

This Week on Sage Aging

<img src="sageagingpodcastguestnancymeyers.png" alt="sage aging podcast guest nancy meyers">It’s no secret that caring for an aging or disabled loved one can be really overwhelming. The day-to-day tasks alone can be so consuming. Now add on top of that, the record-keeping and the documentation that comes along with being responsible for someone else’s finances and medical care.

Well, that’s enough to send many caregivers into a tailspin. So what’s the solution. First and foremost, it’s being educated about what needs to happen. You don’t know what you don’t know, Right? In this episode, we explore what a caregiver’s responsibilities are as it relates to maintaining proper documentation and overseeing a loved one’s finances and medical care. It’s no small task, but don’t worry,  after our time together today, you’ll know what you need to do. Click the player above to listen or look for the transcript at the bottom of the page.

My Guest

My guest today is Nancy Meyers. An estate attorney for the past 16 years, Nancy has worked with individuals and families who are facing the challenges of managing the care and finances of elderly or cognitively impaired individuals. As a result of what she’s seen in her practice, Nancy designed an app, the AccountAbility mobile app, to help caregivers securely organize, track and share documents and information. To learn more about Nancy, see the Links section below.

What We Covered
  • Why it’s important to stay on top of legal, financial, and medical docs
  • Taking Inventory – working through the shoeboxes, Google docs, policies, etc. to know what is there
  • Important legal documents to have in place
  • Important medical information to track
  • Nancy’s new app: Accountability
Links & Resources
Thanks for Listening!

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Transcript

Managing the Care & Finances of a Loved One (July 2021)

 [00:00:00] The Sage aging podcast is brought to you by Polk, elder care guide your guide to all things, senior care and resources. Find the 2021 guide in English and Spanish at polkeldercare.com.

 

Liz Craven: [00:00:15] Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host, Liz Craven. Sage Aging will connect you to information and resources. You need to navigate the aging and caregiving journey. I’ll bring you education, inspiration, amazing industry guests and caregivers spotlights to shed some light on the topics of aging information and resources can be so hard to find if you don’t know where to look, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now and let’s get started.

Liz Craven: Hello and welcome to the Sage Aging podcast.  It’s no secret that caring for an aging or disabled loved one can be really overwhelming. The day-to-day tasks alone can be so consuming. Now add on top of that, the record keeping and the documentation that comes along with being responsible for someone else’s finances and medical care.

Well, that’s enough to send many caregivers into a tailspin. So what’s the solution. Well, first and foremost, it’s being educated about what needs to happen. You don’t know what you don’t know. Right? So today we’re going to explore what a caregiver’s responsibilities are as it relates to maintaining proper documentation and overseeing a loved one’s finances and medical care.

It’s no small task, but don’t worry. It’s all good. After our time together today, you’ll know what you need to do. And we’re going to guide you to some helpful tools that can help you do it too.

My guest today is Nancy Meyers. As an estate attorney for the past 16 years, Nancy has worked with individuals and families who are facing the challenges of managing the care and finances of elderly or cognitively impaired individuals. Whether advising court appointed guardians or agent sender powers of attorney, Nancy is seeing caregivers struggle with managing financial and medical records and being called upon to report that information to courts,

government agencies, nursing homes and other family members. And we all know other family members can get a little bit sticky. So as a result of what she’s seen in her practice, Nancy designed an app, it’s called the AccountAbility mobile app. And we’re going to talk more about that in a bit, but it was designed to address all of these issues and to guide caregivers through the myriad of challenges that they face when they step up to provide care.

To learn more about Nancy, check out the blog post at sageaging.com. Or you can find a link in the show notes and your favorite podcast app. Welcome to the show, Nancy. Thanks so much for joining me today.

Nancy Meyers: [00:03:13] Well, thank you so much for inviting me. This is a great opportunity.

Liz Craven: [00:03:17] Well, I’m glad you’re here and I’m super glad about everything that you’re doing and I want to get into the app and everything that you’re creating and pick your brain a bit, but before we do that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about you?

Nancy Meyers: [00:03:31] Sure.  I’m from south central Pennsylvania, a little town called Chambersburg. I’ve practiced here, actually practiced law for 26 years, but for the past 16, I’ve focused on estate planning, estate administration work with fiduciaries. I put my undergrad accounting degree to use in that field.

And while I love my practice, I’m a shareholder in a mid-sized firm a few years ago I started thinking, there has to be a better way to do this as opposed to my clients that would come in my office. with paper boxes loaded with files and receipts and just really struggling with it.

And last year, when the pandemic hit the weekend travel plans went by the wayside. So I really had more time to really develop the idea and just entered into a couple of pitch competitions, ended up winning prizes in those, and it sort of snowballed from there. So that’s what brings me to this.

It’s something I’m passionate about. Both as a professional, but also personally I’ve got an 85 year old mother and my sister and I are her agents under a power of attorney. So I see this on a personal level as well.

Liz Craven: [00:04:46] Just like so many other of us and those who are listening. I mean, it’s, you’re preaching to the choir for sure. It’s amazing because it is overwhelming. And I think that a lot of things get left behind because first of all, people just don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. You jump into a caregiving situation because you have to, so you jump in and  you’re doing it.

You’re just doing what you can day-to-day. Most of the time we’re focusing on the day-to-day activities and tasks that need to be done.  Getting to the doctor’s appointment and making sure the meals are prepared and the laundry is done and the home is clean. And that mom or dad is getting a little bit of exercise and entertainment.

And so all of that is overwhelming. And I think that this piece of it is largely ignored by many families. Not because they don’t want to be responsible and keep good records, but because they’re, first of all, they don’t know if they’re supposed to do it. And secondly, there’s just not a lot of time. So I think that this app that you’ve created will probably solve a lot of issues for a lot of people.

Nancy Meyers: [00:06:01] Well, that’s the goal and you’re exactly right. The legal profession has really done a pretty lousy job in educating the folks who are actually having the responsibility. And, it just doesn’t get a lot of attention. We, we focus on our clients getting the documents in place and we don’t do a whole lot of follow-up with what well, what happens once they are in place.

And, I think there’s a bit of a misperception under the term of caregiver.  We think of caregivers in terms of exactly what you said, the person actually fixing the meals and making sure the medications are taken and the doctor’s appointments are attended. But there’s a subset of those people that are legal caregivers, that they have a legal obligation, and that can be a mine Every state has rules imposing duties on folks that are either acting as court appointed guardians or conservators, or even agents named under power of attorney. And it’s something that most people that take on those roles do so out of an abundance of generosity and good will, and it’s a very thankless job.

Liz Craven: [00:07:10] Hmm.

Nancy Meyers: [00:07:11] But, the, the flip side is they’re also taking on risk. There’s an opportunity for personal liability. If things are not done properly, there can be sanctions that courts impose. And the idea with what I’ve developed is, giving people a roadmap lot of people, if they are aware of it, they’ll go and they’ll pay an attorney and a lot of money for a few hours to sit down and educate them.

And what accountability does is it gives people an option to prompt them and guide them with what they need to learn and what they need to document. Because, from a personal protection standpoint, when I’m in that role personally, I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to protect myself, that my good deed isn’t going to end up, being punished in some way.

But, but people need the tools to do that. And, and I’ve talked to, several judges who are, sitting in courts in this area. I have a retired one on my team and, they all say the same thing. The horrible cases, the bad actors, they get the press. And you’re not going to stop somebody with ill intent.

I mean, unfortunately that happens. But the vast majority of folks are, as you said, they’re doing it because they want to help. And, they have this sense of loyalty and duty, be it to a family member or a friend, and they need the tools to do that. And there really isn’t anything designed for that group of caregiver.

That’s what my mission is with this company.

Liz Craven: [00:08:43] And what a wonderful mission that is. But real quick, before we get deeper into the conversation, I do want to let everybody know that everything you’re going to hear today is going to be a great tool for you and great information to arm yourself with. However, it does not replace speaking to a professional.

So I want you to make sure that you are discussing all of these things with your attorney. We have quite a few episodes that we’ve done in season one. Episodes 10 through 14 was all about elder law. So go back. Take a listen to those episodes. If you need assistance in locating an elder law attorney in your area, if you email me, I would be happy to send you a couple of links that will help you in your search.

But definitely we want to make sure that you’re doing your due diligence on your side and taking the information here for what it is. It’s good information, but certainly something you’ll need to follow up on with your professional.

Nancy Meyers: [00:09:47] Exactly Liz. Thank you. Because certainly this does not constitute specific legal advice. We’re going to have a very generalized discussion and,  there’s some variance among the states. So I’m going to be talking in generalities today. So, yes. Thank you. This does not replace certainly a professional consultation

Liz Craven: [00:10:07] absolutely.

Nancy Meyers: [00:10:07] in terms of a specific situation yet because the slightest facts can change the answer.

We all know that.

Liz Craven: [00:10:14] It really does. And it’s another opportunity to remind people that just because you visited your attorney one time doesn’t mean that you never need to go back again. Things change the laws, change and mechanisms within the system change so much that you really need to make sure that periodically you’re doing an update on all of your documents and making sure all of the

t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. So that’s always a good thing to do.

Nancy Meyers: [00:10:43] It is. And I would say, especially in this area there is really a movement among courts in this country and really in a lot of countries, to really beef up the oversight of folks who were taking care of someone else. It really used to be that, there wasn’t a lot of oversight.

There were rules on the books about, documentation and that, but the courts never really followed up on it. And in the past few years, The momentum through different advocacy groups, AARP and other guardianship agencies and lobbyists have really pushed and there has been a tremendous response from states and courts to say, wait a second.

We really need to look out for these people who were being taken care of and make sure they’re not being taken advantage of. So there is a lot of developing statutes in this area. And so you’re exactly right. This is something that needs to be looked at, certainly periodically, if you’re, if you’re acting in this role.

Liz Craven: [00:11:45] And that makes me so happy to hear that there is so much activity as it relates to this. I’ve seen it myself and it really is kind of like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel because a lot of things do go kind of by the wayside and it’s difficult to hold people accountable.

It needs to be a watchful eye, not someone looking for something wrong, but certainly there needs to be checks and balances to make sure that people are cared for.

Nancy Meyers: [00:12:15] Right. The movement is just towards a lot more transparency.

Liz Craven: [00:12:20] I love that. So let’s talk about what are some of the common situations that you’ve seen in your practice that led you to design this app?

Nancy Meyers: [00:12:29] Well, a couple of things most of the situations that I work with clients with, are in the case of an elderly adult. Usually a parent sometimes a family friend, sometimes there are no children or children that aren’t willing to do the job. And sometimes agencies, an area agency on aging, something like that.

And so you’re dealing with people that have amassed a lifetime of assets and you’re trying to organize, what it is because. you know there are a lot of generations that weren’t very open with their children in terms of what they had and, they kept it pretty private. And now, if they’re declining and they can’t manage those things on their own, now it really is like a bit , of a treasure hunt for their caregiver to figure out what exactly they have.

So, there were a couple of them. Tools you can use, first of all, I always tell them, go to the accountant, who did the tax return? Hopefully that’s going to lead you to most of the assets you’re going to figure out what’s there. Nothing really can beat a good old fashioned, search of the desk.

Most people of a certain generation keep boxes and boxes of paper documents at home.  Really , the initial struggle is that inventory. It’s figuring out what does the person have. And with the case, I also work with parents who have developmentally disabled child who now turns 18 and now they have to go to court to be appointed as the guardian.

Those cases are a little bit simpler because, for the most part, unless there’s been a case of medical negligence or something where there’s a trust fund set up , most of the times that’s pretty easy from an asset standpoint in terms of inventory, because it’s an 18 year old who doesn’t have anything at that point.

So the more complex cases are the elderly business owner, for example, who might still have investment properties or even an ongoing business concern. So it is crucial to figure out what exactly the person had and that could involve going to safe deposit boxes, doing inventories.

Like I said, searching the home more and more online access is becoming an issue. You want to make sure where are the passwords? You need to know these things so that’s the initial struggle and challenge.

Liz Craven: [00:14:54] And that’s a big one I’m thinking of my own children, for example, when they were younger, the internet piqued my interest here because. Younger and had accounts, I made them write all of their usernames and passwords for every type of account they had, whether it was a financial account or a social media account.

We put them all in an envelope, sealed it and put it in our safe and that way, if anything were to ever happen to one of them, God forbid that we would know how to get into their things and have an avenue to do that. We also provided that for them, putting our own usernames, passwords, accounts, everything in an envelope, seal it and put it in the safe.

So everyone felt safe that their personal information was protected, but it was accessible if it ever needed to be.

Nancy Meyers: [00:15:47] right. You’re you’re exactly right. Because, as people put photographs in, Dropbox accounts and things like that, you don’t want to have those lost. You want to have somebody be able to access them and share them if appropriate. So, you know that on the financial side is really the first struggle and the better job you can do with that inventory the easier the rest of the pieces are going to be cause you’re not going to have surprises.

Liz Craven: [00:16:18] That makes a lot of sense. And also I have seen a number of situations where there were life insurance policies in place that nobody knew about. And that’s a lot of money left on the table. Somebody took the time to make sure that they were covered and looking out for their families and providing the financial stability after their death, but if they don’t know that that policy exists, then that doesn’t happen.

Nancy Meyers: [00:16:48] Correct. You also want to check all the unclaimed property lists of every state that the person lived.

 

It is astonishing to me when I represent clients in an estate administration, after a person has passed more often than not, we find unclaimed assets. Sometimes the family says to me, why are you asking what states they’ve lived in throughout their lives ?

I want to know where they worked because most of the time they had a job briefly in some state and they left and didn’t roll over the retirement account. And it is cheated back to the state and you have to go through the process of claiming it, but, that’s what I mean by that inventory really needs to be comprehensive.

You have to make sure you have an obligation to gather all of those assets.

Liz Craven: [00:17:35] Right. Okay. So we know that there is a general estate plan that everybody should have. We’ve talked about that in previous episodes in depth, but let’s talk a little bit more in detail about each category, financial legal, and medical, and what needs to be in place. Let’s begin with financial. What are the most important financial documents that need to be in place?

Nancy Meyers: [00:18:03] From an estate planning standpoint, as long as the person, we’re assuming that they’re competent cognitively to make the documents. A good financial power of attorney where you’ve sat down with a good attorney who practices in this field and really get a specific document that’s tailored to your needs.

I’ve seen a lot of documents off the internet and they’re one size fits all and they can be dangerous. You want to make sure that you’re giving your agent enough power to really manage, but not so much power that they can wreak havoc. Which brings me to the most important decision.

in all of it is who you’re going to name as your agent. I mean, that is just absolutely the most important decision that a person makes in their estate planning even more important than the decisions they make and their will, because by definition the will, isn’t going to affect you.

You’re going to be long gone, but by the time the will is relevant. So the power of attorney is what affects you while you’re living. So you absolutely want to make sure that you’re choosing the right person. Cause the will doesn’t mean anything when you’re alive.

Conversely, the power of attorney doesn’t mean anything when you’re dead. So, from the financial side, you also want to make sure that your asset mix is consistent. What I mean by that, is there a probate assets, which are the assets that are transferred by the will?

And then there are non-probate assets such as things that are owned jointly or have beneficiary designations, and you want to make sure there’s consistency. And that’s where, when you sit down to go to estate planning attorney, they’re going to ask you for a comprehensive list of assets and including the ones that have beneficiary designations.

And you’re going to want to make sure that there’s consistency that, you didn’t forget about that life insurance policy, that names your ex-wife for example, or yeah,

Liz Craven: [00:20:00] Yeah, that can be a little sticky.

Nancy Meyers: [00:20:02] Yeah, some friends you haven’t talked to in 30 years. You And then on the care side of it, there’s, the living will, or a medical power of attorney, different states have different names for that document, but, that’s where you’re going to name a medical decision maker for you and set forth end of life wishes.

So that’s definitely what ideally you want to have in place. Unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t do those documents in time. And, they end up either through accident or disease, just have a cognitive impairment. And then unfortunately the options become far more limited and they really end up with a guardianship or conservatorship depending on where you are.

And that’s a completely different thing.

Liz Craven: [00:20:50] It is . We actually did an episode on that as well. And although it can be a good situation, it isn’t always, and I think that families really would prefer to maintain control within the family unit then to have that go into the court system. That’s just an, and it just takes a little bit of due diligence on the front end to make sure that you’re prepared and that’s the key.

Isn’t it just get prepared.

Nancy Meyers: [00:21:15] It is key. I mean, really a power of attorney. I recommend for clients, once you’re 18, you should be thinking about that. And for my clients who have children going off to college, I always talk to them about, what, if something happens when they were away in school or, I mean, they’re adults, the law sees them as adults.

My clients may not see them as adults, but they are. And so that power of attorney is a very important document. But the other situation, unfortunately, that I’ve seen in my practice is that the one downfall that a power of attorney has is it doesn’t protect you from yourself. So what a power of attorney does, it really just sets up a parallel path for someone else to do the same things you could do for yourself.

So, unfortunately in those situations where someone, and usually it’s the case of someone elderly and starts, having some decline, they can be taken advantage of easily and, they can pick up the phone from the scammers and wire money. All those things in the power of attorney really has

pretty limited ways of stopping that person from doing that. So while you certainly want to avoid the guardianship and conservatorship route, if you can, sometimes it is inevitable even if the person has a power of attorney, because it may be the only opportunity the family has to protect their loved one from himself or herself.

Liz Craven: [00:22:46] Good point. Good point and one that I hadn’t considered. Okay. So we’ve talked about the important documents in general that we need to have in place. Now let’s talk about the day-to-day because one area that I see people are lost in is medical. When it comes to medical appointments, medical documentation, and keeping track of all of that, that can be very, very overwhelming.

Nancy Meyers: [00:23:13] Yes, it can. Yes, it can. And one of the things that you want to do is really an inventory on the medical side as well. So, a lot of states refer to this as a care plan. And what you’re doing is you’re figuring out what are the person’s needs medically? What doctors do they see? You want to make sure you have that information at your fingertips.

All the specialist, medicine management can be overwhelming for people. I think all of us are familiar with a family member that might have a big Ziploc baggie full of pills and no real knowledge of, when they’re supposed to be taken or how they’re supposed to be taken.

And, you want to make sure that you have that information and that you keep that with you because, unless you’re spending 24/7 with what the person you’re caring for, there may be an emergency that you get a call in the middle of the night and, an EMT might be asking, well, what are they taking?

You need to know that you need to have that information. I would also recommend keeping a history of past medication. And I’ve seen this with clients. Sometimes I’ll think they’re really declining and I’ll talk to the family and they’ll say, well, this doctor just put them on this drug and, and long story short, a lot of times it ends up that they’re overmedicated and, once they’re weaned off and one of their physicians really takes charge of coordinating the medication.

All of a sudden, they’re like a new person. So I would certainly say it’s important to know the history, what meds have they been on in the past and why are they not on them anymore? Did they have adverse effects? Cause I know with my own mother, she’ll go to a new doctor and they’ll say, well, we’re going to put you on this and she’ll say, well, I think I was on that a couple of years ago, and I don’t know why I’m not on it anymore.

And so you know, a medical history that inventory of past care is very crucial as well.

Liz Craven: [00:25:13] So true. And that is an area that we could do an entire episode on the fact that the information, the sheer amount of information is insane. I remember for my father-in-law we had a notebook, he was meticulous at keeping his records for both my mother-in-law and for him, he was her caregiver and they had these white

binders that were very, very thick and every single doctor’s appointment had notes, they would take notes, one for the other. And when after she passed, then one of us would go with him. Notes would be taken medications tracked everything you could imagine was in this notebook and it was big and it was heavy.

Nancy Meyers: [00:25:59] Yep.

Liz Craven: [00:26:02] And I know that’s one thing that your app will address, which is very exciting because it’s so important to have that information. And I have a very good friend, who’s a pharmacist, and she tells me the stories about pharmacy prescriptions that come in and when she consults with the person or the family and sees the other things that they’re taking at the same time says, you can’t take this. This is not something you should be taking.

And so keeping track of those things and making sure that you’re asking questions are so, so, so important.

 

Nancy Meyers: [00:26:38] You’re absolutely right. And you had mentioned earlier too, about just the coordination of doctor’s appointments and, transportation to them. And, that’s something else that I would say, that’s an opportunity and we all have friends that say, well, what can I do. Well , there’s a place where you can say, well, you know what, next Tuesday, I really have a scheduling conflict. Can you take mom to this doctor? And that’s one thing that the app is going to have a calendaring system that you can send out essentially an SOS to somebody saying help, can somebody cover this?

Liz Craven: [00:27:15] I love that idea. And, I always recommend to families that they should have a list because every one of us has been approached by somebody who says, oh, I’m so proud of you for what you’re doing. You’re working so hard. What can I do to help? And when somebody says that to a caregiver, it is very well-meaning and well-intentioned, but that’s an extremely overwhelming question to ask somebody who is just trying to survive day to day.

So I always say, you know what, write all of those little things down, keep a note pad on the refrigerator or somewhere that you can reach it. And when you think of these things that happen in your day to day, that it would be really helpful if somebody would take care of whether it’s mowing the lawn, bringing a meal by the house, coming over to do some laundry, coming over to paint mom’s nails

so you can have 30 minutes for a bath, whatever those things are, write them down. And when somebody asks you that question, you can just send them your list and they can pick what they’d like to pick off of it.

Nancy Meyers: [00:28:19] You’re exactly right. Yep, absolutely. And the other thing we haven’t talked about yet , is tracking the time you’re spending too. People really don’t do that. I’ll ask clients, well, are you tracking your time? And they’ll say, well, why I’m not getting paid?

Why do I have to track my time? More and more states are starting to inquire about how much time caregivers are spending, especially on the court appointed ones so that, the guardians and the conservatories, and they’re asking for that information. They want to know, well, how often are you really seeing this person?

You’re making these decisions. Are you making them from this distance? And you see the person, maybe once every six months? Or are you going weekly and really checking in and knowing that, so, that’s usually not an area that people really think of, but again, in the interest of, protecting yourself and you almost do have to take a defensive posture to some extent to say, no, I really need to track this.

And not only courts, I would say family members, you alluded to in the beginning, there are a lot of times family members don’t get along. And maybe, one sibling isn’t happy that mom chose the other sibling as the decision maker. There can be a lot of tension there and the better documentation you have, the easier that relationship is going to be.

And if you know it even did it end up in court, you would at least be armed with the information to defend yourself.

Liz Craven: [00:29:50] That’s so true. That is so true. And, we would all like to think that would never happen in our family. There are so many people that I’ve spoken to who said the same thing and then ended up in court with their family. Grief does something to people and it sometimes is about holding on to

a piece of the past by holding onto the things and the assets that belonged to the person. So you can never underestimate that. And that brings up a good point about communication with family and making sure that all of the right people are kept in the loop. So what about communication strategies?

Nancy Meyers: [00:30:34] Well, that’s an excellent point because every time I have been in court with clients and this is also backed up with, by conversations with judges as well, that lack of communication is usually the gasoline on the fire. Where, one child would be going along and, and everything will be fine.

The other child might live at a distance and really not care because, Hey, they’re not worrying about it. They’re not taking mom to the doctor’s appointment every day and it’s all good. And then all of a sudden, some big decision has to be made. Maybe a house has to be sold, or mom needs to move into an assisted living facility, something like that.

And all of a sudden , the other child that was, even gladly at a distance, all of a sudden starts questioning, well, why didn’t I know about this? Well, what do you mean that account is gone? Where did this money go? And that’s what really drives any latent disputes that they had. It’s amazing what comes out.

Even childhood disputes tend to get magnified. In middle-aged adults who are otherwise responsible people, sometimes they turn into six year olds fighting and the earlier you can have communication. At the very least the opportunity for communication, even if they choose not to, to really still be invested, the idea that, Hey, I shared this with you, I hear it is.

And that’s one of the things that, that the app is designed to do that, the caregiver will be inputting information, but there’s an opportunity to allow other family members to view what’s going on. And to communicate within the app. It’s secure messaging within that. So the idea being that it fosters communication and transparency because that more often than not is the problem.

When one feels like, another one is doing things in secret and a lot of times it’s not intentional. It’s just, you get busy. And at the end of the day the idea of sitting down at your computer and, jotting off a detailed email about everything that you did for your parent or whomever that day, just isn’t high on your to-do list after you get dinner and do the laundry and take care of your kids.

And that tends to fall by the wayside. So the easier we can make that, the better.

Liz Craven: [00:33:03] I agree completely. And I love that there will be a tool to do that. So that is a great segue into let’s talk about the app. Tell me all about it.

Nancy Meyers: [00:33:15] Well, it is in development. Right now. Our plan is to have something available to a testing group in the fall with the idea to have it, fully available on the market early 2022. And we’re focusing on the real pain points for people. I, in addition to my practice as part of a tech accelerator I went through, I have talked at this point to, probably close to hundreds of people in this situation and, really listened to what their pain points were.

And it is definitely. I would say that the primary thing is you don’t know what you don’t know you so many times people would say, well, I called the nursing home. The nursing home wanted all this documentation for all these prior years, or, I didn’t know that I was, I should have applied for VA benefits or I didn’t know, social security wanted all these reports and they’re sort of surprised at every turn and there’s that anxiety then, because you don’t know what’s today going to bring, what did I not think about that’s going to rear its head today.

So, it will be designed to walk people down a path and, really give some alerts to say, Hey, this area. You need to go talk to an attorney about this. A lot of people are surprised to find out that, spending income is fine. When you need to spend principle, ie, sell a house or, sell another large asset that can require court approval.

Liz Craven: [00:34:46] Hm.

Nancy Meyers: [00:34:47] And that can really be a tricky area that’s a minefield. So, the idea is there will be an educational piece, right? We are going to be developing a lot of content, both ourselves and in partnership with other groups that would be available on the website to help educate our users about when they need to go see an accountant when they need to go see a lawyer,

Liz Craven: [00:35:12] Sure.

Nancy Meyers: [00:35:12] Just to help people avoid the pitfalls.

So, the other area then is the management. Our ideal user is going to be somebody who’s, who’s probably a member of the sandwich generation. They have their kids to take care of. They’re taking care of an elderly parent and they’re busy. They like to travel and they want to know that if they’re sitting at their child’s little weed game and there’s an emergency that they have the information with them on, mobile device or a tablet that they aren’t tied to a box of files in their home office. So that’s really the distinguishing feature. Cause right now people are using Excel spreadsheets. If they’re using technology at all, they’re using Excel spreadsheets or they’re using I’ve heard of people using Dropbox accounts, a lot of non-secure places to, to keep information. So security is certainly an integral part of this app.

And So that’s where we are. It’s exciting. I’m building the team. I’ve got some great people who have signed on and I’ve got a great technical advisor. And the first time we met in person, of course, over zoom, not in person, but he said to me, he said, I, I can’t believe you you reached out to me because I, I moved my.

Elderly mother into my house this year during the

pandemic. And he said, I I’ve struggled to take all the notes and keep all the notes and share them with my siblings. And he said, I, I’m a software architect. I’m thinking there has to be something out there. And he said, there isn’t anything out there.

And

Liz Craven: [00:36:46] a match made in heaven.

Nancy Meyers: [00:36:47] It absolutely is. And the funny part is all the other team members, they’ve all had that same experience. And, I’ve had judges and the pitch competitions I’ve been in where the first thing they say to me is, well, where were you five years ago when I really needed that I’ve had, or I’m having this experience now it is a universal struggle.

And when you look at the census statistics, it’s only going to get worse.

Liz Craven: [00:37:15] That’s so true and it is skewing younger. I believe this statistic for the percentage of millennials who are caregivers is somewhere in the neighborhood of 40%

Nancy Meyers: [00:37:27] It is. and it’s the most rapidly growing demographic in the group of caregivers.

Liz Craven: [00:37:31] It is. And the most curious part to me about that is about, I want to say the number was 45% of millennial caregivers are men. So where it has been traditionally a role that women take on the guys are really starting to step up in this area, which is fantastic. And gen Z is coming right behind. I’d say a little less than 10% right now

of caregivers are gen Z, but they’re not far behind. And the technology is where it’s at for these generations specifically. Much more than for mine. I’m a gen X person love technology, but these kids grew up with it in their hands. And so it’s the natural way for this to be moving.

So how very exciting, and I love that you turned COVID into this beautiful thing. That’s going to be a silver lining for a lot of people.

 

So you said something about beta testers. Are you looking for volunteers at this point?

Nancy Meyers: [00:38:36] Yes, absolutely.

Liz Craven: [00:38:38] Okay, very good. Well, I will include a link to Nancy’s website and the spot where you can go to volunteer to be a beta tester for this app. My goodness, what a great thing to be involved in. So if you have interest in that, you’ll find that in the blog post for this episode and you’ll also find a link in the show notes at your favorite podcast app.

So before we leave, I’d like to ask you one last question. What would be one piece of Sage advice that you’d like to leave with our listeners?

Nancy Meyers: [00:39:11] Okay. So my advice is, Step up and do the right thing. It is a rewarding thing to take care of someone else. However, make sure you’re protecting yourself in the process and getting good advice. You need a team, you need a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial advisor. Cause you do not want to, have your good deed end up being detrimental to you or your family.

And, and I would say ask questions. There are a lot of times, I think people go to an attorney and they’re afraid to ask questions and, I, I wish I had a nickel for every time. Somebody said to me, well, this is a really stupid question. I’m embarrassed to ask it, stop that mindset. There are no stupid questions. Ask and make sure that you have as much information as you can.

Liz Craven: [00:39:59] That is very good advice. Well, thank you Nancy, for taking the time to share with us today, and I wish you so much success on the new app. I can’t wait to follow up on this a year down the road.

Nancy Meyers: [00:40:10] Thank you Liz so much. This was great talking to you.

Liz Craven: [00:40:14] And thanks to all of you for listening, caring for a loved one is not an easy job. We’ve talked about that. Probably ad nauseum, huh. And the administrative side of it. It really shouldn’t, and doesn’t have to be all consuming for you. So, whether you use an app like accountability, or you create a system of your own, I hope you’ll take the necessary steps to get your ducks in a row.

I promise you, it will save you so many headaches later. Are you enjoying the Sage Aging podcast? I hope so. If you are, let’s connect on social media, you can find Sage Aging on Instagram and Facebook, and you can find me, Liz Craven, on LinkedIn. And did you know that you can get the Sage aging podcast sent straight to your inbox?

That’s right. Every new episode can go straight to your inbox. And it’s really easy to do. Simply go to Sageaging.com, scroll down to the bottom of the page and subscribe there. Season two is packed with great content, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. Thanks again for spending some time with me today and we’ll talk real soon.

 

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.