In part two of How Do I Help My Aging Parents? A Three-Part Guide to Navigating End-of-Life Planning, we discuss steps related to helping parents stay safe at home and talk about quality medical care that you and they desire.
The time may come when your parents need more assistance. Here are several steps you can take to prepare for that possibility:
- Make sure you and your siblings have a right to inquire about the health of your parents by adding your names to paperwork on file at doctors’ offices. Ensure a valid health care / medical Power of Attorney (POA) has been completed. Learn more about POAs in this blog post.
- Plan for someone to periodically attend medical appointments with your aging parent(s) so they understand their medical needs and prescriptions . You can also ask doctors to provide detailed care reports or hire a medical advocate to attend, so that all issues and directions are properly recorded and understood.
- Plan how to help your parents with food choices, medication management and their meals. This is especially important if eyesight, smell, or taste buds are failing.
- Discuss long-term care options and estimate costs in your area.
Safety at Home
- Make your parents’ home safe for the future. Consider finding a handyman, so your elderly parent does not attempt to climb ladders, mow lawns, or do home maintenance that could risk their health.
- Survey the home and consider upgrades, including non-slip flooring, safety rails, increased lighting near steps and doors, and emergency alarm systems to detect falls or health changes.
- Move items from high shelves to lower shelves, so your parents avoid lifting heavy objects over chest height.
End-of-life planning can stir a mix of emotions – fear, sadness, and uncertainty. Emotional support and patience can help ease the process. Try to maintain open and compassionate communication with your parents and family members during conversations, and address fears and concerns when they surface. This journey is an act of love and care that helps foster peace of mind for all.
In Part 3 of this series – available next Wednesday, November 15 – we offer steps to help your loved ones safeguard their financial information.
Note: Planning for your aging parents has many aspects to consider depending on your family’s unique circumstances. If you have questions or would like to discuss your options, please reach out to professionals who can guide you, including an estate attorney and your financial planner.