Maybe your parents should no longer drive or have mobility issues. Maybe your Mom or Dad has dementia and needs constant monitoring. Whatever the case, baby boomers handling care for an elderly relative has become the “new normal.”
In fact, more than 43.5 million Americans are caring for someone older than 50, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. Whereas your parents used to take care of you, you may now find the roles reversed – you are now considering how to take care of them. How could you not? They loved you and provided for you all those years so now it’s your turn to do the same.
With more than 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, you might be a caregiver while needing some care yourself as your health needs change. Or, perhaps your parents live in one city and you live in another; across town or across the country.
Whatever the circumstances, there may be some medical and financial decisions in your future that can dramatically affect your family dynamics and emotional and financial health.
Albeit no one wants to talk about aging and even dying, you need to have a plan in place before a crisis develops.
As senior care specialists, here are some things that FirstLight Home Care recommends you consider for your aging parents:
- Housing options. Do your parents want to remain in their home with affordable in-home care? If so, is their home safe or do adjustments need to be made to prevent falls? If not, which type of living situation might be best for them: nursing home, retirement or independent living community, skilled care facility or group home?
- Transportation. Can your parents see well enough to drive? Do they have reliable transportation to get to all their doctor visits, shopping, running errands and visiting with family and friends? Who is the backup driver?
- Legal: Do your parents have an advanced directive or medical and mental health powers of attorney in case they become ill? Do you know where they keep important documents such as a will and insurance paperwork?
- Financial: Do your parents need help getting their pension or government benefits? Do they have long term care insurance? What is their financial situation both now and in the future? Is all their financial information in one place?
Also, it’s important to know what resources are available to help. At FirstLight Home Care, we are very aware of the many senior resources available throughout the country, and would be happy to steer you in the right direction. Don’t go it alone … there are many people who have the knowledge you need at their fingertips and can make it easier to take care of your aging parents for you. We’re FirstLight and we’re here to help.