How do you cope with aging parents?  Educate yourself and take stock.

Mom and Dad are aging. Now what do we do? It is now time to educate yourself and your parents as well if they are able and willing. You will need to become specialists in the areas that are relevant to your aging parents changing situation. There are a number of things and areas to consider, in which decisions made in one area will have an impact on another, such as Financial arrangements, Legal matters and estate planning, Healthcare resources and support services, Housing and recreation resources and knowledge of the aging process or of any health condition affecting your parents.

Do your parents have a financial advisor who is aware of issues affecting seniors? Does their financial plan include future health care costs? Housing decisions are usually dependent on finances, this is where much of the interdependence in these areas begin.

Do your parents have a current will and are they engaged in an estate planning strategy. Again this is a critical area in which these decisions affect many others. If there is property involved and more than one child there are many issues including estate taxes that should be dealt with.

Educating both yourself and your parents about the health care system and what resources are available is an absolute must. Being a strong advocate for your parents and ensuring that they are advocating for themselves is also critical. There are many things about the health care system that you should educate yourself on including but not only limited to resources, but patient rights and how to navigate through the system in order to attain the best outcomes.

As your parents age many housing options present themselves, downsizing the family home, moving into an apartment, senior retirement communities, assisted living, retirement residences, potentially moving into long term care, or enlisting homecare services in order to stay in place. Many housing options are available, yet many of those choices hinge on decisions made in other areas.

Having a working knowledge of the aging process can help, as well as a knowledge of any condition or health issue your parents are facing. Many of the organizations that represent such conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Arthritis, Heart and Stroke, Cancer Society offer educational workshops to seniors and their families to help them through the process.

As you begin to realize that your parent’s needs are changing due to the aging process, take stock of their current situation, in relation to the above areas we discussed. Be sure to enlist the support of professionals such as nurses and physicians, a social worker and a lawyer and financial planner. There is a lot of support and services available to seniors and their families in our community, you just have look for them. 

Christian Bullas

Owner, Senior Homecare by Angels London

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