Back when my father was lying in a hospital bed dying from complications caused by his diabetes and God only knows what else, my mother had a moment of clarity and went to a lawyer to have them draw up a Durable General Power of Attorney for herself. She appointed me as her Attorney in Fact.
This instrument basically gave me the power to handle her affairs when she would be unable to - to pay bills, contract with service and care providers, sell or purchase assets for her, make arrangements for her medical care and general welfare - anything that might happen where she was not able to do these things for herself.
I would encourage anyone who is elderly and has an estate that would need looking after or concerns that they might be in a position someday where they physically or mentally could not make decisions or manage their general health and welfare issues to create this power of attorney with someone you trust. Emphasis on TRUST... because it could be used by someone who would be unscrupulous and take advantage of your vulnerability.
I am grateful that my mother trusted me. I know Dad had some influence regarding this. She hasn't always used me as a sounding board for everything she's done, but she knows I will be straight with her and that I won't try to cheat her of her money or other assets.
I know she is depending on me to look out for her. And I don't take that trust lightly.
I guess I'm now of that generation where I'm "between". I care for my 4 year old daughter, and my 72 year old mother. I am hoping that the elderly one will be independent before the younger one is.