As people, we love skirting around issues of importance, issues that are inevitable and issues that need our attention. This includes the issue of caring for our elderly parents. There are no two ways about it: one day – if we are lucky – your parents will struggle to climb the stairs, unable to drive, and maybe even find it hard to dress and feed themselves. We know that using the term lucky may seem, well, out of place, but it is far better than the alternative.
Like we said, this thought is the worst, but it is far better to give it some thought so that you can give your parents the comfort they want and need in the final hurrah of their life than to be totally unprepared. Oh, and you get to keep your sanity. Excellent.
The elephant in the room is never easy to talk about, but by considering the below points you will find that the whole process becomes more transparent. Translation: a little bit easier.
Get the Family Together
Most of us would prefer it if we could drop the conversation of care into a conversation as casually as we do the weather, but this is a sure fire way to see a serious family conflict arise. Instead, your best bet is to plan “The Talk” with your parents and siblings. Just make sure you are careful about what you say when arranging this whole get together. Say you want to have a meeting so that you can sort out the best form of care for when mom and dad get older.
Your Meeting Agenda
When you have your family meeting, knowing what needs to be discussed is going to help you discuss the bigger and smaller details. The most glaring one is where your folks will live when they need care and how you are going to pay for this. Of course, these will bring about other discussions. What is their current health like? Where will they want to go when they can’t live independently anymore? What are the nursing home abuse signs and reporting procedures? What financial resources are available? And how you, the family, can help? All of these things need discussing.
Listen To Your Parents
If you really want to help then you really need to talk to your parents and see what their plans are if they have any. It could be that they want to grow old at home, or they may want to move closer to you or one of your siblings, or maybe they have a nursing home in mind that took their fancy one night when they were watching television. They could even take to the idea of assisted living. Basically, whatever the discussions you have, you need to involve your parents. It is them who are going to have to go through this change so it is only right that their wants and needs are listened to.
Find The Signs
If you really want to be prepared then you really need to observe your parent’s health, wellbeing and ability to live independently. Obviously, to know if anything has changed you need to know what they are like now. The main things you need to look out for include poor eating habits, relaxed hygiene, less pride in the state of their home, forgetfulness, how mobile they are, what their social life is like and what the support system in place is like. Monitor this and you will find you are much more prepared.