Taking care of a parent and ensuring they are able to spend their days comfortably is important. Talk with your parent to discuss their wishes for their care as they age. While it is difficult to have these conversations, it will benefit you and other family members to have everything planned as early as possible to get input from your aging loved-one.
Taking care of an elderly parent
As your parent ages his or her needs will change. You should look out for issues that might come up, such as illness, injury, or a need for regular care. Your parent might experience new health concerns, ranging from arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease. As their health status changes, you will have to be prepared to reassess their living situation and care needs.
Make a realistic plan with your parent to meet their needs. If your parent owns the home they live in, it will be difficult to convince them to move away from a place that is likely paid off, where they are comfortable, and that is filled with many memories. Sometimes their mobility and health needs require others to care for them, which might require them to move to a place that can meet their needs.
Consider the financial aspects of having your parent live in their own home, live in your home, or in a care home. Research and compare the cost of maintaining their lifestyle in their home with home health aides versus having them stay in your home with your assistance or an aide. Look into whether Medicare and Social Security benefits will pay for a care home, since long-term care is usually not covered. Find out if your parent has insurance that covers this or savings devoted to their housing and care.
Sometimes you can help your parent stay in their home as long as possible with some financial help and frequent visits to help them with chores and errands. If their medical needs exceed what you can provide, think about hiring a home health aide to make home visits to care for them.
Consider having your parent move into your home so you know that they are getting the best care. There are many benefits to having them in your home, including knowing that their medical and emotional needs are met every day. It might be a great experience for your kids, if you have children, to live with their grandparent, which allows for plenty of quality time. If you cannot care for all your parent’s needs alone, consider hiring health aides to come to your home. This still cuts down on some expenses when compared to having them live in their own home since you are able to combine households, and you are there for them if anything happens at any hour.
When it comes to finding a care home for your parent, consider their needs and abilities. Assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and independent senior communities are just a few of the options that might fit the needs of your loved one. Know that there are specialty facilities built to care for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If your parent is living at home now, they might be suited for an independent senior community that allows them the freedom they are used to at home. This can have the added bonus of being surrounded by seniors and services for seniors, like transportation to the grocery store and help with chores.
Regardless of the housing option selected, keep a tone of kindness when explaining why your parent needs assistance. Instead of pointing out how they cannot remember things and do things like they used to, focus on the facts. Mention potential consequences and a need for professional assistance. Then propose options when the timing is right.
End of life plans
Talking about the end of life with your parent might be difficult. Set aside time to talk to avoid the pressure of making decisions while grieving at the end of their life. Discuss how they want to handle their funeral preparations, and determine whether they would like a casket burial or cremation services. Plan a time when they are able to meet with a provider to discuss all of their options.
Casket burials and cremation services both allow for a respectful service. Cremation provides a dignified and affordable option. Your loved one might prefer cremation and a ceremony scattering the ashes at a memorable location.
Caring for your parent as they age involves many different personal decisions. Sit down with your parents to have conversations about housing, care, and end of life plans. Start the conversation by expressing that these discussions come from a place of love and caring. Planning for the future is never emotionally easy, but the benefits of planning early outweigh the stress caused by waiting.