As our parents continue to age, life situations are going to occur that require the children of aging parents to provide some form of assi
stance as their parents become less able to manage life on their own. The type of assistance can range from the financial help to actual physical assistance in performing daily tasks. No matter what type of assistance a parent may require, it is important to recognize the warning signs when they appear. Below we identify five different ways you can assist your aging parents during a period they will need you the most.
Make Sure Their Finances Are Secure
Seniors tend to be one of the largest sectors of the population that are targeted for financial scams so schemers can get access to their bank accounts. The National Council on Aging called these scams “the crime of the 21st century.” Typical scams are in the forms of fraudulent sweepstakes and lotteries, bogus reverse mortgages and illegitimate investment opportunities. Talk to your parents about these things so they are aware that seniors are targeted on these matters. Many times the types of mail or phone calls they receive are clues to whether they have been targeted for these types of scams.
Be There For Them
The most important thing a child can do for an aging parent is to be accessible. Sometimes it is difficult to balance a career and your own family with the needs of an aging parent, but there is no substitution to being involved. Whether it is to assist with some household chores, yard work or even stopping by with a hot meal to see how they are doing, the more involved children are with aging parents, the better chance they have at maintaining their independence.
For Your Parents Sake Plan Ahead
Anyone who has ever taken care of an elderly parent or researched available resources to assist with caring for a senior knows that it takes time to find outside help that their parents may qualify for, and you as an adult child, can turn to for help. This takes time and you don’t want to make rushed decisions. There are resources available at the state and county level as well as from outside senior care agencies, but to navigate all this information is time consuming. You should be proactive so you know where to start when a parent is showing signs they are not able to fully care for themselves any longer.
Communicate With Other Family Members
Taking care of and assisting an elderly parent should not be the job of one person, but a shared responsibility by the family. Even if you are an only child, seek the assistance of aunts, uncles, cousins and even your own children, if they are old enough, to assist. The amount of time and effort it takes to take care of an aging parent can be overwhelming. The more help you have the better. By making sure more people are involved it will help ensure there is no resentment shared by family members who may believe they are taking on too much of the workload.
Advocate For Your Parents
The last thing you would want is for a decision to be made about your parent’s medical care or their finances without them having a say about it. You should talk to your parents about whether they have prepared a will or health care directive and who they would like involved in making decisions about their future, if they become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions. You may want to consult an elder attorney to discuss drafting legal documents like a Power of Attorney or Health Care Directive. You may also want to discuss whether your parent has any long-term care insurance to supplement Medicare as no one type of health care policy may address all the services an aging parent will need.
Being prepared to address these topics is important so that there is not a lot of indecision related to your parent’s care when the time comes to act.
Article by Joe K.
In Home Care Advisors is a local Minnesota company made up of caring senior healthcare professionals who believe everyone should be ale to live safely in their own homes as long as possible. We put that belief into action by carefully listening and assessing the needs, wants, and desires of our clients; Call 651-252-1669….we can help.