January 17, 2019
Sometimes the signs that your aging loved one needs more support are small. Is there a daily task that has become difficult? Has your parent occasionally forgotten to take a medication or pay a bill? Have you noticed small changes in his or her behavior or memory?
Other times, your concern for your aging parent may be the result of a more major event—such as a health emergency. In either case, if you notice a change in mom or dad’s ability to navigate daily life, it’s time to talk to him or her about options available.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to a senior adult in the last 12 months. If your aging parent needs additional care beyond what you or your siblings can provide, use these tips to evaluate the situation and make a plan to support mom or dad.
Explore Options Together
To make a long-term care plan for your aging parent, it’s important to first get him or her involved. A study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that many older adults mentioned “being a burden on family” as a worry as they aged. In some cases, your aging parent may be unsure of how to ask for help. By sitting down together and having an in-depth conversation about future living arrangements, health, and more, you’ll get to know his or her preferences and understand the best way to support mom or dad.
Discuss Financial Concerns
Do you have a good understanding of your parent’s financial picture? If not, this is a key component to your decisions about the future. While it may be uncomfortable for you both, focus on how finances are simply a tool for creating a plan that provides the support your mom or dad needs to enjoy life. Your loved one may only need help scheduling and paying bills or reconciling accounts. If your parent’s finances are more complex, seek help from a professional financial planner.
Stay Involved in Health Decisions
Just like it’s important to make sure your parent’s finances are in order, make sure his or her health care is in order as well. Stay involved with your loved one’s health care by taking note of doctor’s appointments or new health complaints. Talk about completing a Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney so you can help make decisions when mom or dad can no longer do so—or, if one already exists, check that it is still correct. If you’re not always nearby, ask siblings or other significant loved ones if they have noticed any changes in your parent’s health and well-being.
Understand Outside Resources
After you’ve had a conversation about your aging parent’s situation, including financial and health concerns, it’s time to review the support options available to address the concerns you’ve discussed. If you’ve decided that moving out of the family home and into an assisted living community is the right choice, continue to explore your options together. Ask if you can help by setting up tours and going along. While decisions about long-term support for your mom or dad may seem overwhelming at times, you’re not alone. By keeping communication open, you’ll be able to make these big decisions together.
We’re here to help you navigate the important decisions about providing support for your aging parent. Call (817) 354-6556 and see how we may be able to help.