INDEPENDENT AGING > AGING IN PLACE > AP 7
3 Tips for the ‘Aging Parent’ Caregiving Journey
By: Dale Carter
Parent caregiving is by no means a new concept. It’s only natural to protect and care for those who have dedicated so much of their lives to protecting and caring for you. However, the normalcy of parent caregiving does not make it any easier of a task to undertake, particularly for today’s generation of baby boomers whose parents are living longer and experiencing an increase in chronic medical diagnosis. 44 million Americans are currently caring for someone in their life over the age of 50—a statistic that is sure to increase as our baby boomers and their parents age (AARP). However, when surveyed, a striking proportion of Americans expressed that they felt their families would not be affected by long-term caregiving needs (Aflac Work Forces Report).
Wishful thinking? Fear?
Whatever the reason, it is clear that parent caregiving is becoming a larger part of our lives as a society, as well as one that most of us are overlooking. It is time we embrace our parents elder care and prepare accordingly to ensure our parents’ quality of life and happiness in their golden years. A few tips for our journey:
- Include Everyone in caregiving discussions
It is vital to include all family members in discussions about your parents care—your parents and your siblings. It will not always be easy. Preparing for the final years of a parent’s life is scary, emotional, and overwhelming for everyone. But, you don’t have discuss it all at once. The important thing is that you discuss it all together. What do your parents want? What don’t they want? What are you and your siblings able to provide?
Your parents care will require practical financial planning. Do your parents have assets, savings, debts, mortgages, insurance? Will they need supplemental security income? Do they qualify? There are a number of variables to consider when making plans for your parents future. It’s important to always keep your parents’ health and physical condition in mind, as well the type of care they will need immediately and down the road. There are a number of care options to consider—assisted living, in-home care, senior housing, nursing facilities. Research the options in your area and discuss the care and associated costs for each with your family. This can often be the most overwhelming part of your financial planning, but rest assured that there are a number of online tool and financial counselors in your area to aid you in this process. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Be Honest about your feelings
This is a very emotionally exhausting time for a family. It’s important to acknowledge this and accept it. Be honest with your family members about how you are feeling—share your opinions, concerns, and fears about your parents care. Through honesty with one another, you will be able to make the most fitting decisions for your parents’ future.