Loving Care for Aging Parents – Part One

Senior woman contemplatingWhen the time arrives to add caregivers into the daily routine of your aging parent questions rise. Who do you hire? Where do we look for reputable help? What attributes do caregivers need? The list continues to lengthen with questions from salary, taxes, transportation, and on and on. Questions quickly become hesitation and hesitation turns to fear when the answers are not easily found.
In this two part series you’ll find ways to help you begin the journey of adding a caregiver into the routine of your parent.

Begin by making a list of the specific needs of your parent. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the choices verses the true needs. Finances will play into the need as well. However, don’t be stopped by finances, rather make your list of needs as though there are no financial issues. This will allow you to quickly narrow down “wants” verses real needs.
List the answers to these questions to help launch you into finding the needs of your parent:

*Is your parent mobile?
*Are they able to take care of personal hygiene?
*Are they a fall risk?
*Are there memory issues?
*Can they manage dressing alone?
*Is driving still an option?

This list of questions will help gage your thinking process to the important issues. Once you’ve answered the questions then you can begin to look at how to meet the needs of your aging parent with wisdom.

Move Toward Personal Affairs

*List doctors, hospitals and specialty physicians that work with your parents
*Secure a Power of Attorney for both finances and medical care
*Gather Medicare insurance cards or private pay insurance as well any long term health
*Check with the bank and add one reliable person to help with finances (ie paying bills, budgeting funds,
etc.)
*Locate the house deed and titles to any vehicles
*Locate living wills and wills for the estate, even check to see if pre-funeral arrangements have been
Made.

Factor in Finances

*List all savings, regular checking, 401K’s or bank CDs to get a clear financial picture of assets
*Consider a reverse mortgage to provide funds for care
*Make a budget

Once you have all these items in place, call a family meeting and discuss who will manage the process. Include your parent, even though there are times this may not be possible if a parent is unwilling…try.

Finances immediately press the stress button for most families. Relax. This is definitely important but it’s not a reason to panic. It’s simply an obstacle that must be worked around. With this information in place you can now look logically at the future care of your parent.

Narrow the List

Once you are aware of all the needs, necessities and assets, begin to look closely at the exact needs of your parent. Can they manage well enough to remain at home or is their care beyond a home setting. Keep in mind, it’s a proven fact the elderly thrive in their own homes. If at all possible, make “their home” the goal of their place of care.

Taking these steps will help get you on the road to preparing for long term care for your aging parent. In part two of Loving Care for Aging Parents we’ll discuss putting a plan of care into action.

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