Getting Prepared to Care for Elderly Parents

Ducks in a Row – Part 1

caring for elderly parentsIt’s upsetting and scary when we realize that our elderly parents are slipping and that we are going to have to get involved in managing their care. It’s even more frightening to realize that at some point our children may have to step in and help take care of us.

No one likes to think about incapacity and death, but due to advances in science and medicine, we’re living longer than ever before. When we are enjoying good health and financial security, age seems irrelevant, and we can almost believe we will live forever. But the truth is we’re still mortal, and eventually most of us will need some kind of help managing our healthcare, our financial affairs, and the eventual distribution of our worldly possessions.

We have two choices:

  1. We can make those decisions ourselves ahead of time and control what happens . . . or
  2. We can relinquish our control and let family members and/or courts of law decide our fate

The information that I’m going to be sharing in the next several Caregiver Help Blog posts will help guide you through the process of starting difficult conversations and making decisions about living arrangements, finances, long-term care, life support, and the distribution of material belongings.

These discussions can be uncomfortable. The decisions can be difficult, and the implementation can cost time and money. The only thing that’s worse than getting prepared for this difficult phase of life is the impact it has on families when you don’t prepare.

This is not a job for sissies! But as with any of life’s most difficult challenges, once we face the obstacles and do what has to be done to get prepared, the job is less formidable.

Today we’re going to start with just one question. This is something every person, regardless of age or current health status needs to decide:

If something should happen to you and you could no longer manager your own care, who would you want to take care of you, and how would you want them to pay for it?

Next time we’ll be talking about how to assess the safety of elderly parents.