The ties that bind family members together are strong. For many years, parents take care of their children, expecting little in return. At some point, the tables turn and children become the guardians of those who once cared for them. The responsibility for aging parents can be daunting, not knowing when to make decisions for which you may be unprepared.
Here are some common situations in which it might be time to discuss care for an aging parent:
After a holiday season
The months leading up to holidays can be exciting times. Seniors and their families look forward to spending quality time with loved ones who can’t gather together on a regular basis. These occasions are filled with moments of love and laughter, however, they also may bring moments of discovery that cause concern.
Adult children who are visiting may notice a decline in a parent’s ability to manage activities of daily living, such as meal preparation or difficulty in getting dressed. They may even learn that Mom or Dad has taken a recent fall.
The post-holiday season may be a time to discuss the alternative of personal care services. This decision allows seniors to maintain their independence at home while remaining safe and attended to, when relatives are not in a position to be with, or see, them on a routine basis.
Inability to provide care any longer
All children want to do what’s best for their parents. That can mean a variety of things, from helping them with tasks such as bathing and grooming, often splitting their time between parental care and other personal obligations. There may come a point when this responsibility becomes too difficult to shoulder and respite or a new permanent solution is required.
In these situations, it’s in everyone’s best interests to be honest about their capabilities. If children can no longer provide the assistance their parents require, it’s time to talk about other options. Personal care services give seniors the help they need, such as meal preparation, medication reminders, or transportation to and from doctor appointments. In-home care helps ensure the comfort and safety of their own environment.
Prior to upcoming surgery
Does your parent have a procedure on the horizon, such as a hip or knee replacement? If so, assistance with mobility and everyday tasks may be needed for a while. Care partners, or personal care attendants, can offer an extra hand… and peace of mind.
Including the parent in the decision is a smart idea. Let them know that your interest in getting in-home care for them is to help ensure their safety during recovery. Then listen to what they feel is the best arrangement for their short-term needs.
Anticipating needs of a progressive diagnosis
Learning that your parent has a progressive diagnosis is a sobering life event. He or she may be facing a future with physical limitation due to a cardiac condition or cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s.
Over time, when children see their parents become less mobile or increasingly more forgetful, it is a great comfort to already have a plan. Being prepared in advance can help alleviate some of additional future stress.
In anticipation of future need, children can discuss services for care with their parents and other family members. Making a well-informed choice, while respecting needs and preferences, is extremely important. However, selecting the right type of care, as well as the right company to deliver it, can be a bit overwhelming. Take some time to do a little homework about the options that are available and which may be best for your loved one.