Dear Abby: Helping a parent or other adult relative handle their finances and health care can be a challenging gift to give. You want to honor their wishes and respect their boundaries, while at the same time acting in their best interest. But it can be hard to know where to begin and whom to trust, and you always wonder if you're forgetting something.
To help your readers carry out this important role, the Federal Citizen Information Center created the free Family Caregivers Kit. It features publications from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that explain how to manage a loved one's money and protect seniors from scams. And it also contains publications from the FDA's Office of Women's Health to keep track of medications and learn to use them safely. The kit is full of practical tips that give caregivers the confidence they need to manage a loved one's affairs.
Abby, thanks for sharing the free Family Caregivers Kit. From one daughter to another, you know how important it is to stand up and support family members through life's challenges. – Sarah Crane, acting director, Federal Citizen Information Center
Dear Ms. Crane: Thank you for offering this important information to my readers. It is important because accepting this kind of responsibility should not be done without fully understanding what it will entail. The publications you sent to me – and will send to my readers – provide an illuminating overview of the responsibilities involved.
Readers, this year's packet is not to be missed, particularly if you have aging relatives or a friend who may need you to handle his/her affairs, even for a short period of time.
These booklets are offered free of charge and include the "Managing Someone Else's Money" series of publications, which cover Power of Attorney and Managing Trusts, Property and Benefits. They are written in plain English and are in an easy-to-understand format.
Also included is a pamphlet on using medications wisely. Did you know that 125,000 people die each year because they didn't take their medication as directed -- and many more get sick because they didn't properly follow the directions on the label? (I didn't.) Another pamphlet shares information on recognizing and avoiding health scams, so you and your loved ones can watch out for miracle devices and cures that really ARE too good to be true.
But wait! There's more ... You will also receive a copy of the 2014 Consumer Action Handbook, which contains not only information you need to make the best decisions about what you buy and the service providers you use, but also a sample complaint letter to help you get results.
To order this free kit, go to promotions.usa.gov/dearabby. You can also order the kit by calling 888-878-3256 weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, or by writing: Family Caregivers Kit, Pueblo, CO 81009. Every household in the country should have this information on hand "just in case," so order a kit for yourself and more to share. – Love, Abby
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.