What You Should Know About Caring for an Aging Parent
Aging is a simple part of life and it affects everyone at all stages in their journey. As we watch our parents turn into seniors, facing the effects of aging can become a harder pill to swallow as we begin to care for them, the same ways they cared for us as children. Fortunately, when they are still in good physical and mental health and have no troubles living independently, easing into elderly care can be taken one step at a time.
The moment you begin to notice any drastic changes in their behavior or health, you should consider looking into care options to ensure their quality of life is maintained throughout the final years.
Living independently and aging alone in the comfort of their own home may sound ideal to your parent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option. Most seniors will want to continue living out of their own homes despite the many benefits an assisted living community may offer. If you reason that it’s unsafe or unhealthy for your parent to remain independent, it may be time to have a chat.
Talking to an elderly parent about transitioning into an assisted living home is not easy, especially when they believe they’re completely fine living alone. If you’re having trouble convincing them to make the change, these tips might prove useful.
Getting the family doctor involved - If the top reason you're considering a new living arrangement for your parent has anything to do with a medical diagnosis, enlisting the help of the family doctor may provide deeper clarity than a simple request from Mom or Dad’s own kin.
●Recruiting siblings to help - The more the merrier. It might just take a team of loved ones to convince Mom or Dad to trust the leap of faith.
●Highlight the perks of assisted living - There are many benefits of living in an assisted community that your parent may not know about. Compile a list of the most attractive features that highlight the freedoms they’ll still have.
●Keep the discussion open - Don’t make it a one-sided conversation. Hear them out, and encourage the discussion by going over the many pros and cons of assisted living.
Everyone's financial situation is a bit different. Though it can be difficult to talk money with your parents, it will be important to do so as they grow older. At the 65-year-old mark, taxes tend to change for seniors. You can hire the help of a tax professional or do the research alongside your parent to go through the changes they can expect to see.
If your elderly parents are healthy enough to continue living at home, it may be a good idea to explore the finances tied to their house. Use a free reverse mortgage calculator to open a discussion about how they can convert equity into cash. With a reverse mortgage, your parents can use their accumulated wealth to cover a number of costs ranging from healthcare to credit card debts.
Retirement shouldn’t feel financially taxing, and the fruits of a reverse mortgage can add more breathing room in the money department.
As we get older, our bodies, bones, and internal organs age, too. We become more susceptible to injury and aches that require more serious care and prompt treatment. If you’ve started to notice that Mom or Dad has been scheduling check-ups less frequently or battling colds for longer periods of time, it could be a good time to sit down and chat.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to start this conversation before their health takes a foreboding turn for the worse. Having the talk early ensures that your parent understands that you’re just looking out for their wellbeing, not trying to nag them or micromanage.
In the case that a parent has complained about difficulty walking, seeing, or driving, it’s best to accommodate them as soon as possible rather than waiting for their condition to escalate. This could be as simple as introducing a walker into their daily routine or scheduling an optometrist appointment to fashion a suitable pair of glasses.
As your parent ages into their 80s and 90s, it may be the safest decision to consider a nursing home. These private institutions provide around-the-clock nursing care so that your elderly parent is never far from immediate help. If you foresee a nursing home being the next step in your parent’s life, have the conversation early so you both have time to come to an amicable decision.
There is nothing in life that properly prepares you for caring for an elderly parent. With these key tips and words of advice, you’ll be able to confidently approach the next step in both of your lives!