How to Care for Your Aging Parent: Planning Together for the Future

When it comes to an aging parent, nothing but the best care and the highest quality of life will do. However, the process of negotiating this period in a way that makes you and your aging parent feel equally satisfied can be very difficult. To avoid adding additional tension to a discussion that is inherently stressful, try to start talking and making plans for care as soon as possible. This guide can help you start the process.

Why Talk Now Instead Of Later?

Nobody looks forward to a conversation about future care with an aging parent. These discussions can bring up emotions that aren’t pleasant to deal with, and the negotiations are seldom peaceful. However, it is important to start talking about the future now, so that you will be prepared if an unexpected health crisis occurs. A health problem that impairs your parent’s ability to function carries with it a lot of stress and worry on all sides, and once you are in the midst of a problem it can be difficult to make a calm, objective decision. By talking in a relaxed situation together about if, how, and when lifestyle changes should be made in order to protect your parent’s health while maintaining as much independence as possible, if and when a crisis does arise you will know what steps to take.

What To Talk About?

As you work towards creating a situation that provides your aging parent with an ideal level of safety and attention while remaining financially and emotionally feasible for you both, it is a good idea to have an idea about what kinds of issues are like to come up. It is almost certainly inevitable that as time goes on, your aging parent will eventually need to rely on others for assistance with daily tasks like preparing food, doing laundry, and bathing. You will want to discuss questions about whether your parent will move into your own home, into an assisted living situation like a retirement home, or remain in their own house or apartment with the support of an occasional or live-in professional like a private nurse.

Take Your Time

The decisions you and your aging parent have to make about care are the kinds of choices that shouldn’t be rushed in to in the heat of the moment, so don’t try to reach a definite solution on the day that you start talking. Run through the list of issues and topics together, then take a few days to think about solutions independently before you talk again. This will give you and your aging parent plenty of time to make sure you’re both comfortable with the arrangements that are being made.

The Rewards

Nobody looks forward to sitting down with an aging parent to talk about issues like deterioration of physical and mental ability, but the sooner you can create a game plan together the more able you will be to reach a solution that pleases you both. If you are able to discuss the pros and cons of options like assisted living, retirement communities, and private nurses before the situation becomes pressing or urgent, you will be able to engage in smoother, calmer communication. By planning for the future with your aging parent before problems arise, or before existing health situation worsens, you can make sure that there is adequate time to research and consider all the possibilities. Best of all, by planning together while your aging parent is able to fully participate in the process, you’re doing everything you can to make it possible to find care solutions that will work for everybody.

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