If we’re lucky, our parents get old. If we’re even luckier, they stay healthy and independent until the end of their lives. But for many, including me, the last few years of life are filled with challenges and decisions.
Even though I have been a health care professional for my entire career, I was totally at a loss when it came to my own mother. I didn’t know what to look for in an assisted living community, let alone a nursing home; I didn’t know anything about what her health insurance and Medicare covered; and I was certainly unaware of the financial impact of the last year of her life. I know I’m not alone. Most of us are not really prepared for the complexities of dealing with an aging parent.
That’s why the CCRC’s of Hebrew SeniorLife sponsored a recent seminar entitled “You and Your Aging Parent.” Most of all, we wanted to encourage meaningful conversation between parents and children. We don’t want people to wait until there is a crisis in life to figure out what to do – because that certainly can lead to bad decisions. We also wanted to provide people with information – information that hopefully will form the basis of good conversation and good decisions.
Who better to provide that information than the experts at Hebrew SeniorLife. Part 1 of our seminar looked at “Recognizing the Change.” Children need to be aware of changes in their parents and parents need to discuss their concerns with their children. There is a natural aging process, but there also can be issues along the way. Part 2 of the program, “What Do We Do Now,” discussed options that are available to families – different housing options, how to choose the right kind of doctor and services available for seniors who want to stay in their own home. We also talked about the cost involved in geriatric care and the important of knowing one’s legal rights.
We knew that this information was universally important and that’s why we created an ebook that summarizes all of the content presented at the seminar. In the next few weeks we’ll highlight some of the material on this blog and introduce you to our knowledgeable panelists. You can also download the ebook on our website, www.agingredefined.org. It will provide you with the information you need to start meaningful conversations with your parents or your children.