When your aging parent’s health starts to decline, it’s not always easy to know the best course of action. There may be many things they can no longer do independently, and they may need more medical attention than before. Their diet and food preferences may change, they could experience mobility issues, and some may have visual and hearing impairments.
The decisions you both make now will not only affect the quality of your parent’s life, but yours as well. When your parent is well taken care of, you’ll have more peace of mind and have time to take care of your responsibilities as well, such as work or caring for a young family. Here are some considerations to make when navigating this difficult time.
Consider Changes in Living Arrangements
One of the first things to consider is whether your aging parent needs to move. If they require more care, you may need to consider special accommodations, such as a Bel Air assisted living facility or a nursing home. Assisted living ensures that your parent gets professional care around the clock. You have more peace of mind knowing that their health is being monitored, and at the same time, all their other needs are being met.
If you’re considering letting your parent move in with you, remember that it might be strenuous for your family. It’s not always easy for grown children to live with their parents because of a busy schedule or limited living space.
You might also have to modify your house to accommodate their changing needs. Other expenses include hiring someone to watch over them as you step out of the house to take care of everyday responsibilities such as work, dropping the kids to school, running errands, and shopping.
Another alternative is moving into your parent’s house. The arrangement works well if your work and other responsibilities permit you. However, you can also hire permanent live-in assistance or someone who spends a few hours with them every day to handle household chores and errands.
Organize How Your Parent Accesses Medical Attention
As your parent’s health declines, how they access medical care becomes a huge consideration. They will often need someone to drive them to clinics, make sure they take their prescriptions on time, and follow other medical recommendations. You’ll have to follow up with their doctor regularly to ensure everything is in place.
Look for a medical facility that is accessible, but offers quality care. Because you might have to take a few trips to the clinic now and then, choose a facility near your parent’s residence. Also, arrange how they can get there in case of an emergency or if you can’t drive them to the hospital.
How Will You Cater for the Increased Cost of Care?
Increased medical attention, special programs, and changing the living arrangement costs money. Who will pay for this? Can your parent’s insurance policy take care of all the bills? Does your parent have a source of income that can help offset some of the bills?
How much will it be if you have to chip in, and how do you raise the money? Can other family members contribute towards these costs? Remember, your parent’s home also requires maintenance, and there are bills you have to pay regularly, such as utilities.
Talk to your parent and other concerned parties to decide how you will offset the expenses. Dealing with this issue beforehand ensures that you don’t strain financially or get stuck with bills you can’t pay.
How Do You Spend More Time Together?
Your parent will naturally want to spend more time with you, but the living arrangement will dictate how often you see them. If they’re in an assisted living facility nearby, you can pop in now and then, share meals and keep them company for as long as you can.
However, seeing them often can be a challenge when living far away from each other. Try to video talk every day and update them on the progress in your life. The more involved they are in your life, the less lonely they will be.
How Do You Ensure Your Parent Feels Respected, Loved and Involved?
Make sure your parent feels respected, loved, and involved in the process. Be sensitive to what is going on in their life and the challenges they have to endure. Don’t let them feel neglected or taken for granted.
Ask your aging parent how they would like things done around the house and work with them so that they feel included in their care. Respect their decisions even when you disagree, but slowly work together to find solutions you both like.
How Do You Deal With the Stress of Seeing Your Parent’s Health Decline?
Naturally, you’ll be anxious, sometimes stressed, and overwhelmed when your parent’s health declines. The best way to handle this is to have a support system. It includes medics, caregivers, friends, and relatives who can offer assistance. Make sure you have people you can talk to when you feel overwhelmed. Also, look for activities that allow you to feel relaxed and in control.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Overwhelming
Although your parent’s declining health is a huge concern, you don’t have to be overwhelmed. Involve the right people. Most importantly, make your parent feel loved and engaged in all the decisions you make. Also, involve other family members in the decisions so you can give your parent better care and attention.