How to Care for Your Parents in Old Age

How to Care for Your Parents in Old Age

No one ever thinks about their parents getting older. That is until they look at them one day and realize they aren’t 40 anymore. That’s not to say they aren’t healthy and active older adults, but they are approaching their elder years. As such, you might wonder what will happen if they aren’t able to care for themselves one day. If you’re thinking about stepping in and taking care of your older parents, here’s what you need to do first.

Make Honest Assessments

Before speaking with your parents, you need to assess their needs. In reality, what you think they need and they know they need could be completely different. Every elderly parent is different, and may require different types of care. Ask them if they’re experiencing any kind of medical issues such as weakening joints, problems with sight, or hearing loss.

Should their medical condition be worse than you thought, like needing a wheelchair or cognitive decline, you must speak with their doctor. You also need to look into your state’s filial responsibility laws. Filial responsibility laws are rules that make you responsible for your elderly parent’s well-being. However, bear in mind that not every state has these laws. An example of filial responsibility states include New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Texas and Wyoming, for example, don’t have them. Once you’ve determined how your state handles these laws, a detailed guide can help you understand what exactly you’re responsible for.

Analyze The Finances

You should already be aware that taking care of an elderly parent is going to cost money. With something as important as your parent’s health, you want to have a good grasp on your finances. The first step involves assessing your parent’s current financial situation. Do they have health insurance? Do they have any savings in reserve? Do you need to eliminate debts that they owe? Secondly, if you plan on having them move in and they have limited mobility, you’ll also need to factor in the renovation costs. Installing handlebars in the bathroom and turning the guest room into a spare bedroom can cost a little more than you thought. You’ll need to come up with a solid financial plan before everything is said and done.

Consider Your Own Needs

You might think it’s a little selfish factoring your own needs into the equation, especially when it comes to ensuring your parents are taken care of. But you also need to take care of yourself as well. Although you might jump to the decision solely because they are your parents, you can’t act rashly. Before you’re able to officially make the decision, you have to consider the following factors:

  • Are you in a good financial position to do so?
  • How close do you live to them?
  • Are you going to learn how to take care of their disability or impairment?
  • Are you yourself in good health?

Everyone wants to take care of their parents just as they did for you. However, don’t fault yourself for not being able to. If you’re not able to, then you can always double the efforts to find a place where they can receive the care they deserve.

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