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Supporting Aging Family Members

Mom left the stove on again. I’m not sure it’s safe for Dad to be driving any longer. What’s the next best step for care after Mom’s fall? How do we communicate with Dad with his failing memory?

These worrisome questions may be your first time to experience this challenge, and, even if it’s not, this time could be different. How do you find the right answers? How do you help your loved ones live with dignity in the coming years? If you have siblings, how do you navigate these challenges together?

You need a care plan for the whole person and the family. Of course, the plan must be dynamic since we live in a world with ever-changing circumstances.

Have a Family Conversation

The first step is having a proactive, planned family conversation. The goal is to discuss the care needs and wishes with your parents while they can still guide you on future decision-making for their care.

Arrange a time when all family members can join the discussion. Chat with parents and siblings in advance so everyone is prepared for the conversation. If you are anxious about high emotions, consider inviting a trusted family friend or advisor to facilitate the conversation.

  • Where would you like to live if you can no longer live at home alone?
  • If you plan to live at home, do we need to make any physical changes to your home to make that possible?
  • How will we manage your financial needs?
  • Who would you like to be responsible for day to day management of your needs?
  • Do you have a health care power of attorney and may we have a copy?

Bring in the Experts

The next step is an assessment. While this may be your first time, there are others who have made a business out of being your guide in this situation. These life-care professionals have experience and credentials to work with all ages. The Aging Life Care Professional conducts a comprehensive assessment and helps the family plan for the current and future needs of your family member.

The family conversation may highlight the need to gather all of your parents’ important documents in one place to include everything from marriage certificates, financial data, military records, life insurance policies, burial arrangements and estate planning documents. Now may also be the time to consult with an attorney to review or update wills, health care power of attorneys, and durable power of attorneys. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is an organization of lawyers with unique expertise in assisting with these challenges.

Supporting your Parent’s Needs

A strong care plan will include an assessment of senior housing options from in-home care to assisted living to memory care. Focus on your parent’s needs across their lifespan including their cultural and community connections, financial resources, and personal preferences. Working together as a team to proactively create a plan helps parents retain a sense of independence, identity and belonging all of which correlate with longer life-spans.

Caring for the Caregiver

Do not underestimate the toll caretaking can take on a family member. The physical and mental decline of caretakers is well-documented. Talk with your caretaking parent or sibling. Ask whether or not the time devoted to caregiving is becoming overwhelming with increasing needs of the parent. Or, it could be that the caregiver feels conflicted making complex decisions. Maybe it has become too time consuming, too exhausting. If any of these are true, now may be time to bring in a professional caregiver. Look for the following signs that a caregiver needs extra help:

  • is either “burned out” or confused about care solutions
  • has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with the individual’s chronic care needs
  • is at odds regarding care decisions
  • needs education, support, or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia

Change is Hard

This new phase of life is often scary—feelings of loss, uncertainty, grief, guilt, and anxiety are common. Parents may express these feelings through anger, stubbornness or even depression. A core value at Abacus is to listen, to be fully present, and to actively seek to understand. To be able to listen, with patience and care, may be the best way to share our lifelong gratitude for our parents.

Resources

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Supporting Aging Family Members

Mom left the stove on again. I’m not sure it’s safe for Dad to be driving any longer. What’s the next best step for care after Mom’s fall? How do we communicate with Dad with his failing memory?

These worrisome questions may be your first time to experience this challenge, and, even if it’s not, this time could be different. How do you find the right answers? How do you help your loved ones live with dignity in the coming years? If you have siblings, how do you navigate these challenges together?

You need a care plan for the whole person and the family. Of course, the plan must be dynamic since we live in a world with ever-changing circumstances.

Have a Family Conversation

The first step is having a proactive, planned family conversation. The goal is to discuss the care needs and wishes with your parents while they can still guide you on future decision-making for their care.

Arrange a time when all family members can join the discussion. Chat with parents and siblings in advance so everyone is prepared for the conversation. If you are anxious about high emotions, consider inviting a trusted family friend or advisor to facilitate the conversation.

  • Where would you like to live if you can no longer live at home alone?
  • If you plan to live at home, do we need to make any physical changes to your home to make that possible?
  • How will we manage your financial needs?
  • Who would you like to be responsible for day to day management of your needs?
  • Do you have a health care power of attorney and may we have a copy?

Bring in the Experts

The next step is an assessment. While this may be your first time, there are others who have made a business out of being your guide in this situation. These life-care professionals have experience and credentials to work with all ages. The Aging Life Care Professional conducts a comprehensive assessment and helps the family plan for the current and future needs of your family member.

The family conversation may highlight the need to gather all of your parents’ important documents in one place to include everything from marriage certificates, financial data, military records, life insurance policies, burial arrangements and estate planning documents. Now may also be the time to consult with an attorney to review or update wills, health care power of attorneys, and durable power of attorneys. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is an organization of lawyers with unique expertise in assisting with these challenges.

Supporting your Parent’s Needs

A strong care plan will include an assessment of senior housing options from in-home care to assisted living to memory care. Focus on your parent’s needs across their lifespan including their cultural and community connections, financial resources, and personal preferences. Working together as a team to proactively create a plan helps parents retain a sense of independence, identity and belonging all of which correlate with longer life-spans.

Caring for the Caregiver

Do not underestimate the toll caretaking can take on a family member. The physical and mental decline of caretakers is well-documented. Talk with your caretaking parent or sibling. Ask whether or not the time devoted to caregiving is becoming overwhelming with increasing needs of the parent. Or, it could be that the caregiver feels conflicted making complex decisions. Maybe it has become too time consuming, too exhausting. If any of these are true, now may be time to bring in a professional caregiver. Look for the following signs that a caregiver needs extra help:

  • is either “burned out” or confused about care solutions
  • has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with the individual’s chronic care needs
  • is at odds regarding care decisions
  • needs education, support, or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia

Change is Hard

This new phase of life is often scary—feelings of loss, uncertainty, grief, guilt, and anxiety are common. Parents may express these feelings through anger, stubbornness or even depression. A core value at Abacus is to listen, to be fully present, and to actively seek to understand. To be able to listen, with patience and care, may be the best way to share our lifelong gratitude for our parents.

Resources

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Supporting Aging Family Members

Mom left the stove on again. I’m not sure it’s safe for Dad to be driving any longer. What’s the next best step for care after Mom’s fall? How do we communicate with Dad with his failing memory?

These worrisome questions may be your first time to experience this challenge, and, even if it’s not, this time could be different. How do you find the right answers? How do you help your loved ones live with dignity in the coming years? If you have siblings, how do you navigate these challenges together?

You need a care plan for the whole person and the family. Of course, the plan must be dynamic since we live in a world with ever-changing circumstances.

Have a Family Conversation

The first step is having a proactive, planned family conversation. The goal is to discuss the care needs and wishes with your parents while they can still guide you on future decision-making for their care.

Arrange a time when all family members can join the discussion. Chat with parents and siblings in advance so everyone is prepared for the conversation. If you are anxious about high emotions, consider inviting a trusted family friend or advisor to facilitate the conversation.

  • Where would you like to live if you can no longer live at home alone?
  • If you plan to live at home, do we need to make any physical changes to your home to make that possible?
  • How will we manage your financial needs?
  • Who would you like to be responsible for day to day management of your needs?
  • Do you have a health care power of attorney and may we have a copy?

Bring in the Experts

The next step is an assessment. While this may be your first time, there are others who have made a business out of being your guide in this situation. These life-care professionals have experience and credentials to work with all ages. The Aging Life Care Professional conducts a comprehensive assessment and helps the family plan for the current and future needs of your family member.

The family conversation may highlight the need to gather all of your parents’ important documents in one place to include everything from marriage certificates, financial data, military records, life insurance policies, burial arrangements and estate planning documents. Now may also be the time to consult with an attorney to review or update wills, health care power of attorneys, and durable power of attorneys. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is an organization of lawyers with unique expertise in assisting with these challenges.

Supporting your Parent’s Needs

A strong care plan will include an assessment of senior housing options from in-home care to assisted living to memory care. Focus on your parent’s needs across their lifespan including their cultural and community connections, financial resources, and personal preferences. Working together as a team to proactively create a plan helps parents retain a sense of independence, identity and belonging all of which correlate with longer life-spans.

Caring for the Caregiver

Do not underestimate the toll caretaking can take on a family member. The physical and mental decline of caretakers is well-documented. Talk with your caretaking parent or sibling. Ask whether or not the time devoted to caregiving is becoming overwhelming with increasing needs of the parent. Or, it could be that the caregiver feels conflicted making complex decisions. Maybe it has become too time consuming, too exhausting. If any of these are true, now may be time to bring in a professional caregiver. Look for the following signs that a caregiver needs extra help:

  • is either “burned out” or confused about care solutions
  • has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with the individual’s chronic care needs
  • is at odds regarding care decisions
  • needs education, support, or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia

Change is Hard

This new phase of life is often scary—feelings of loss, uncertainty, grief, guilt, and anxiety are common. Parents may express these feelings through anger, stubbornness or even depression. A core value at Abacus is to listen, to be fully present, and to actively seek to understand. To be able to listen, with patience and care, may be the best way to share our lifelong gratitude for our parents.

Resources

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