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Nobody can predict the future. And while I could hazard a guess that most of you reading this post would love to allow their parents to age gracefully in their own home – or even yours – you just can’t tell what might happen. Illnesses, repetitive injuries, and complicated psychological issues could all play their part. And even if you do make the decision that you will definitely be your parent’s caregiver, who’s to say you will be in a position to do it when the time comes?
There are a lot of considerations to think about – and to be honest, it is almost impossible to make a decision now, without knowing what the future holds. But the sooner we all start thinking about things, the more prepared we will be to make that important decision. With this in mind, here are a few things you should be thinking about right now, so you are ready to deal with them in the years to come.
Yes, sending your parents to a residential home is going to be expensive. But you might be surprised to learn that there are enormous costs involved when they need care in their home, too. Millions of people all over the country care for ageing and ill parents and relatives and an increasing number are providing hands-on care. It’s a lot of work. Unless you can afford to pay medical staff and support workers, you can expect it to be a full-time job, and it will be incredibly draining, stressful, and can take you away from bringing up your own family.
Money has to be taken into account. As much as we would all love to say it makes no difference, the cost of caring for a parent at home is significant. You may need to give up your job, pay for medical services, and maybe even shell out for adaptations to your parent’s home – or yours. In short, whether you choose a care home or look after your folks yourself, there is a chance it will have a profound effect on your finances.
Approaching the end
There will come a time when your folks will be close to the end. And if they are suffering from something like end-stage cancer palliative care is of vital importance. Your loved one will be undergoing a lot of pain, and be experiencing the impact of a massive array of symptoms. They will need doctors to treat them, nurses to care for them, and also people who can provide them with the psychological support they require. While many people prefer to see out their days at home, there are some scenarios where getting help from a professional setting will be better for everyone.
Unless money is no object, at some point you are going to have to make a choice – and live with it. Either way, you are going to feel guilty. On the one hand, if you decide on residential care, you might have to go against the wishes of your parents. But on the other, keeping them at home may prevent them from receiving the care they need to live out their days comfortably, or the support they need in the event of an emergency. Whichever direction you end up choosing, you have to remember that you will still be a big part of the care team, but you will also have to accept reality.
It’s a tough call, for sure. But hopefully, these factors will help you feel a little better about making a decision when the time comes. Hopefully, that won’t be for many years…
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