Aging Loved One’s and What to Keep in Mind
Today, ElderCare wants to bring up some difficult subject matter. We want to talk about what kinds of things you, as an adult child, should be concerned about as your parents age. Perhaps your parents seem perfectly healthy, or perhaps their age getting the best of them and you are starting to get somewhat concerned about their health. Regardless of your situation, we want to bring up some topics for consideration.
First, we will start with the most basic question: What is your responsibility? This is a question only you and you alone can answer. As much of an unsatisfactory answer this may sound coming from a third party, it is really up to you to decide how much time, energy, and effort you put into caring for your parents when they are no longer able to care for themselves. Some people come from cultures where filial responsibility is extremely important, whereas some people come from cultures who believe that there is no responsibility on the adult child whatsoever. Perhaps your reasons do not stem from these deeper, philosophical beliefs, but from personal experience instead. Maybe you did not get along with your parent growing up and into adulthood, and, as a result, you have removed yourself from their life. That being said, many people around the world are still connected to their parents somehow, and they are likely to be involved in their care in some way or another. This question is, therefore, a difficult one to provide a clear-cut answer. The answer depends on the level of honest commitment you want to devote to your aging parent.
If you are involved in your parents’ lives, here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Managing and Paying for Health Care: You should probably have a talk with your parents on what kinds of medial/insurance plans they are on through their work or any other program they are affiliated with. Take advantage of the benefits insurance can cover. Additionally, there are government resources that can help you find affordable resources. Keep track of the doctor’s appointments your loved one attends so that you can stay up-to-date on their medical situation in case of any emergency or sensitive situation.
- Plan Ahead: Ask yourself the difficult questions like “What will I do if my parent gets sick?” Have an honest discussion with the rest of your family if you have brothers and/or sisters. Discuss the potential responsibilities that each family member will adopt in case matters get worse. Who lives nearby and can respond more quickly? Who can help contribute financially? Who will be the first emergency contact? These are important questions to have figured out. As awkward as it may seem, you should probably include your parents in this kind of conversation, or at least speak with them privately. This is no doubt a difficult conversation to have, but it can be for everybody’s benefit in the long run.
- Determine Power of Attorney: If your loved one develops a condition that incapacitates them, what authority do you have over their situation? Will you be in a position to make decisions on their behalf that is in their best interest? Meeting with an Elder Law Attorney in your area for some advice can be a crucial first step to get this base covered.
- Consider You Own Limitations: Are you working fulltime? Are you a spouse and/or a parent? Do you have a job that will be flexible enough to allow you to take on the role of a family caregiver? It is important to realize that caregiving consumes a lot of time and energy. If you are blindsided by the heavy responsibilities that accompany caregiving, then you may end up compromising your mental and physical health, as well as your responsibilities to other people in your life. Weigh your own life concerns and situation within the broader context.
- Know Your Resources: There are many businesses, government organizations, and non-profits around that can help you find the appropriate resources or services you need. Such services can connect you with professional caregivers, hospitals, attorneys, etc. Look at what kind of elder care organizations exist in your area!
If you have any more questions, please give ElderCare at Home a phone call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!