Nobody wants to think about their parents getting old and potentially suffering from poor health. We must, however, be prepared for the event that they develop a chronic health problem or increased fragility, because if or when the time comes you may need some extra help. Such decisions need to be shared with the whole family so that everyone knows what to do if the worst happens. Here are some helpful ideas on how to plan for the future of an elderly parent.
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Talk to your parents
It will never be a simple or enjoyable conversation to have, but nevertheless, it is an important one. This concerns your parents, and this is only fair that you speak to your parent(s) about the plans when they are fully in a position to have the conversation. If you have brothers or sisters, do try to include them in the conversation, because everyone needs to be on the same page to prevent any conflict from arising in the future. Things to take into consideration include:
- Their needs when it comes to future care
- Their wishes as they grow older
- Where they would like to live
- Their financial situation
- Any support that they may need now
How this discussion will pan out depends on your family dynamic, so try to pre-empt any triggers for potential fall out and tension during the conversation. This way, you can have an appropriate response ready beforehand to try to keep the discussion as calm and as productive as possible.
Assess their needs
You may have concerns regarding your parent’s health and wellbeing now. Maybe they have recently lost weight or had a few falls, or began to forget the occasional thing. Maybe their vision and hearing are not quite what it used to be. If this is the case, you need to think about and assess whether they have any urgent needs, such as mobility aids or more specialist care.
Most people will have strong feelings when it comes to their living arrangements when they are older, so it is important to talk to your parents about the options available to them and be sensitive when it comes to it.
Talk about their housing options
While your parents might be lively and able to live an independent life at the moment, they might one day need a little more support. To ensure they enjoy a good quality of life, it is worthwhile talking about their different senior housing options, such as:
- A nursing home
- In-home senior care
- Memory care
- Assisted living
For example, a nursing home might be the best option if your mom or dad requires a high level of medical and one-to-one care. Assisted living allows them to retain independence as much as possible. However, in-home care can provide your elderly parents with extra support within the home, such as help with laundry and meal preparation so that they can maintain a reasonable level of independence.
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