Five Tips for Caring for Elderly Parents

As more and more of our population ages, many families begin to realize that at some point they will be caring for at least one elderly parent. It is a growing need, and one that most families are not prepared to face on their own. While it is definitely a move that we know is hard, it can also be very rewarding in the end.

The hardest part at first is to simply be prepared for what is to come. Whether you have the financial plans in place to help them move to assisted living facilities where they can get professional help, or take care of them at home, you need to plan ahead. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to taking care of our parents as they age.

Should I Stay in My Job?

While it isn’t asked of everyone, some families who have parents with extreme needs may consider quitting their job and staying home in order to care for a parent. While it may seem like the best solution, you could be jeopardizing for most your own future if you walk away from a career now.

Can you afford to go without that income? What about your retirement plans? Sometimes it makes more sense to stay working and invest some of that income in a paid caregiver who is trained for this. In addition, you may want to talk to your human resources department about getting financial help through work for this. You will need that healthcare plan and the other benefits from work to keep everything afloat.

Start with a Budget

It is hard to know what you can afford to do if you don’t have a budget. If you are considering moving a senior parent into your home, look at what that will cost first. Making plans with a budget in place can make it easier to make decisions and know ahead of time their impact on your family. Include any resources your parents can contribute to this caregiver budget.

Know Public Options

In addition to what you can do and how your work can help, there are public programs in place that can help. If you don’t know what they are, you may be able to find out from your local library. You can also go online to check out the National Council on Aging to find out more. Include finding out everything you can about Medicare and Medicaid benefits to see how they fit into your plan.

Talk It Over with Them

If you can, it is a good idea to have “the conversation” with your parents as well as the rest of your family about this next step. Discuss their own ideas of what they want you to do as they age, how much responsibility they want you to have and final decisions.

It is going to be a hard topic to discuss, but in the end, it will be worth it. This is your chance to pay back your parents for all the love they gave you as a child, and for many it is a time of truly knowing their parents. Take it one step at a time, and get help when you need it.

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