The United States has an aging population. The statistics show that there are over 65 million adults over 65 in the United States.
If your parents are a part of this statistic, then you may be faced with the task of having to care for your elderly parents. Parents normally take care of their children and it can be quite shocking when a role reversal has to occur and you have to take care of your parents.
It is easy to become overwhelmed. However, if you take the time to plan carefully then things can go a lot more smoothly.
Ask Your Parents
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to make arrangements for your parents is not to involve them in the process. Your parents will know what they need.
The only time when you can bypass this step is when your parents are not coherent enough to know what they want or need. However, once your parents can make decisions you should ask them what they want.
Aging can be hard for some people and acceptance of limitations are not always easy. Don’t be surprised if your parents are in denial about exactly what kind of care they need. Giving up independence is hard for the elderly.
However, be gentle while helping them to accept their current reality.
One of the most important things you will need to do after you have decided that your parents need care is to do a needs assessment. When you do a needs assessment you will look carefully at exactly what your parents need.
Some senior citizens can live on their own but may need help with specific tasks. For example, your parent might need help with preparing meals or going on doctor’s visits.
You also need to take a realistic look at what you can and cannot do. This will help you to decide whether they need live-in care or if a senior living community may be right for them.
Elderly communities can provide valuable socialization, and prevent your elderly parents from feeling isolated. Additionally, senior living communities often have professionals in various fields who are on call or even live in the community.
One of the things that you need to consider is how you will finance your parent’s care. If your parents have a retirement plan and are getting a regular pension then things will be easier on you, especially if you have to pay for elderly care.
Benefits are sometimes available for the elderly. You should do some research to find out what is available in your city. Getting assistance from the government whenever you can, will take a lot of financial pressure off of you.
Estate planning should be a part of your plan for aging parents. When you and your siblings are deciding on how best you can care for your elderly parents, it is a good time to decide who will have power of attorney over their finances if they are no longer able to take care of their money themselves.
There can be a lot of legalities that you will need to overcome. It is best to hire an attorney that specializes in working on these kinds of cases. Once your parents are still coherent they can work with an attorney to decide how they want their money to be handled.
An important task that you cannot afford to neglect is gathering all your parent’s important documents, organizing them, and placing them in a secure place.
You should do all of this so that if there is an emergency. If something happens you will know exactly where documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance policies, and financial records are located.
Consider Your Needs
When you’re thinking about the care that you were want to provide for your aging parents what you need may be the last thing on your mind. However, this is something that you must think about.
The more you can reduce your own frustration when taking care of your parents the better it will be for all of you. If you have siblings you should sit down and decide how you are going to share the responsibilities of taking care of aging parents or making sure that they have everything that they need.
If you decide to take care of your parents on your own you need to look at your current living arrangements. You also need to look at your present family arrangements.
Elderly parents will need constant care, if you have a job outside of the home or are studying it may not be ideal for you to take care of them.
Of course, there are other options. Aside from a senior living community that has already been discussed, you can get assisted living for them, hire an in-home caregiver, place them in a nursing home, or a memory care facility.
The bottom line is that you want to get the best care for your parents but while trying to help them you have to ensure that you do not burn yourself out.
Prepare for Elderly Care
When you are faced with the task of having to take care of your elderly parents it is best to start arranging how you will do it sooner rather than later. Procrastination is one of the worst things that you can do.
As your parents age their ability to function as they did may very well diminish and sometimes it can happen rapidly. It is best to start making plans as soon as possible so that you are prepared.
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