As individuals age, they often experience a deep sense of isolation. This makes sense, as it can be downright disheartening to have loved ones move away or friends die. If your mother and father live in a nursing home, though, they may be particularly vulnerable to isolation and loneliness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, isolation is one of the major health risks facing older Americans. That is, lonely seniors often experience a variety of negative health outcomes, such as dementia. If your parents are suffering from isolation, their estate plan also may be in jeopardy.
Estate planning apathy
If your parents have already created a comprehensive estate plan, they are doing better than many. If they have not, of course, you may want to convince them to start the process immediately. Unfortunately, isolation may lead to depression and apathy. If your parents are not feeling like their normal selves, they may lack the emotional energy needed to draft a will, set up a trust or address end-of-life matters.
Loneliness may cause your parents to attach themselves emotionally to caregivers, other nursing home residents or new friends. While you are sure to welcome these fresh relationships, you also must be wary of unscrupulous individuals. Specifically, undue influencers may use your parents’ isolation to take advantage of them and cheat you out of your inheritance.
To protect your parents’ mental health, you probably want to maintain as much contact with them as possible. Ultimately, if your visits to the nursing home uncover potential problems with their estate plan, you probably need to act quickly to safeguard their wealth and perhaps even your financial interests.