No one wants to think about getting older, and we certainly don’t want to think about our parents aging. But it’s happening, slowly but surely. If you’re facing the reality that your parents are elderly, more frail than before, and facing new health problems, it’s time to start preparing for how they’ll be cared for now and in the future.
Here are some tips to help you get ready now.
Talk About It
Not facing the reality won’t keep it from happening. The worst possible scenario is needing to make decisions for a parent after they’ve had a stroke or need long-term health care. The sooner you can have this conversation with your parents and any siblings you may have, the better.
Find out what your parents want from best case scenario like aging in place at home to worst case scenario such as what to do if they need constant care and supervision. Ideally you’ll be able to follow their wishes exactly, but their future health may prevent that. Talking about it now lets you set expectations and be as realistic as possible.
Get Access to Information
When the time comes to care for your elderly parents, you’re going to need to know a lot of information. Even if your parents are healthy enough now, knowing where to find this information is the first step. It’s time for them to share the details of their lives in a new way:
- Doctor names and medical conditions
- Insurance information — health, home, auto, life, long-term care, etc.
- Housing information
- Social Security benefits information
- Bank account information — what banks, type of accounts, etc.
This may also be the time to talk about what, if any, will they have in place and who their attorney is.
Figure Out Future Housing
Most people want to be able to age in place, stay in their own home, and take care of themselves until the very end. This may be the best case scenario if your parents are currently healthy and active. But it’s best to look into other options, and if your parents’ health is already failing, you know staying at home might not be the best solution.
Discuss these options and begin researching facilities that can help you and your family:
- In-home care
- Living with a family member and receiving care
- Nursing home for constant medical care
- Assisted living facility — offers both independent living and medical care as needed
Who Will Make Key Decisions
As long as your parents are healthy and of sound mind, they should be free to make their own decisions. But who will be the one to take responsibility if they’re unable to do it themselves?
- Living will. Your parents need a living will to determine how their care will be handled in emergency situations. Do they want to be resuscitated? Is there a point where medical care should be stopped? If they can’t give consent to treatment, their living will declares their wishes.
- Power of attorney. Who will make medical and financial decisions for your parents when they can’t? It could be you or another family member. By figuring this out early, you can prevent a lot of stress later.
Dealing with the Emotional Toll
Thinking about taking care of your parents is difficult. You don’t want to imagine them getting sick or dying. Whether they’re already ill or simply starting to slow down, thinking about their future care is emotional — for you and for them. You might not want to think about it, but the sooner you take care of this, the better it will be for everyone.
You may never need your worst-case scenario plans, but it’s best to have a plan. Trying to make the agonizing decision on your own later will be even more difficult. Be honest with yourself and your parents about how hard this is, but also remember how important it is. Being prepared now will help you give your parents the end of life care they want and let them maintain their dignity.
As part of your preparations, talk to your parents about long term care insurance. This will help get the medical care they need, either at home or in a facility, in the years to come.
Contact Charlotte Insurance today. We can discuss your long term care insurance options, including cost and coverage types whether this is still decades in the future or something you know you have to face in a few years.