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Whether your aging parent is coming under your care for the first time, or you just want to get ahead of the curve and make sure they live their senior years comfortably, you’re in the right place.
As their adult children, your parents will rely on you for help and guidance as circumstances in their life begin changing. That can include a wide range of things, from assisted living or nursing home considerations to health care monitoring.
The nature of long-term care is you can do a lot ahead of time to begin curbing the costs down the road.
In this article, we provide checklists for preparing for long-term care, caring for an aging parent, and the things you should look for when visiting a parent in a senior living facility.
These checklist items are things you and your aging parent should cover at some point before long-term care is needed. By paying particular attention to these cautionary steps, you can save your family a world of headaches later in life when circumstances begin changing rapidly.
Long-term care expenses are daunting when you don’t properly prepare for them. Most health insurance plans won’t cover long-term care, and the same goes for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It’s you and your loved one’s responsibility to adequately save for sudden expenses to assisted living facilities or care-related installations at your home.
The best way to prepare for these is expenses is by enrolling in a long-term insurance plan. If your loved one qualifies for long-term care insurance, you can begin paying premiums now that will squash long-term care expenses later on.
These can kick in when (not if) your parent requires enhanced care. That might mean covering a significant portion of their rent in an assisted living community or curbing respite care costs if you or other family members will do the majority of the caregiving.
After long-term care insurance, your next priority should be ensuring a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is in place.
This agreement entrusts your parent’s interests with someone who can make decisions on their behalf. These are incredibly important because they can empower you to make life-altering decisions when your parent may be at their most vulnerable.
You don’t need to meet with a lawyer to enter the power of attorney agreement as all the legal documents are available online. However, it is a good idea to consult with a family lawyer about the topics of solidifying a living will, health care directives, financial trusts, and more. Eldercare lawyers can help make many of these decisions, so there is less uncertainty down the road.
Hand-in-hand with power of attorney is preparing for financial decisions on your parent’s behalf. Things like real estate investments, retirement funds, life insurance policies, and credit card accounts are all subject to scrutiny if a clear decision-maker isn’t identified.
When meeting with your aging parent, make sure you get their thoughts on how they’d like their finances handled should they no longer be able to make those decisions.
At a certain point, you’re aging parents will require additional care. Hopefully, you thoroughly prepared for this circumstance by enrolling in long-term care insurance, solving financial dilemmas, and got any legal hurdles out of the way.
If home care is your best option, your family caregivers will handle the majority of the day-to-day. Here is a checklist of what you should consider when caring for a parent.
First and foremost, when caring for a parent, helping maintain a healthy diet goes a long way. Nutrition is key to healthy aging, so you need to make it a priority for your loved one, especially if they aren’t capable of it themselves.
Much like nutrition, maintaining a regular exercise schedule is a necessity for healthy aging. Caring for aging parents includes encouraging them to live their life actively. That may consist of accompanying them on walks or taking them to senior-specific exercise classes.
According to MayoClinic.org, exercising several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes may improve memory, reasoning, judgment, and thinking skills for people with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, there is evidence that exercise delays the start of Alzheimer’s for people at risk of developing the disease or slow the progress of the disease.
Social engagement and community are essential to emotional and mental well being. Happiness in this area will spill over into medical considerations as well, so keeping your parents socially engaged is vital to enhance their livelihood.
Unfortunately, however, most seniors will need to modify their transportation methods as getting to and from places becomes more difficult. These limitations often include driving a vehicle during bad weather or removing their keys altogether.
You and your family members are well-suited to help your aging parents continue having an active social life. Help them stay active by volunteering to transport them to their favorite places, like a granddaughter’s soccer game.
Many times for older adults, medication becomes a necessary part of everyday life. If you are caring for your parent in your home, pay special attention to the medicines they are prescribed and ensure they are regularly taking the recommended dosages.
Your aging parent will have the best access to care by enrolling in an assisted living community. Assuming they enrolled in a long-term care insurance plan, assisted living costs are mostly curbed.
Additionally, assisted living communities check many of the boxes for a quality life. They provide nutritious meals, administer medications, give avenues to vibrant social activities, regularly enable fitness classes, and much more. While many seniors are skeptical of joining a senior living community, many find that they could never go back afterward because of the friends they make and the feeling of community they encounter.
If you or your family member requires specialized senior care that you cannot provide yourself, you may want to look into assisted living communities. If you or your family member are not concerned about Alzheimer’s or dementia at this stage, assisted living would likely be the best option.
Our representatives are ready to talk to you about your needs and to help you choose the right option for you and your loved ones.