In the fall of 2012, Hebrew SeniorLife gathered together geriatric thought-leaders, researchers and physicians for our inaugural "You and Your Aging Parents" program, an important discussion about the steps one should take to help aging parents as they make decisions regarding health and well-being. Overwhelmingly positive response indicates the need for this information and Hebrew SeniorLife continues to offer this program. Check our events listing for upcoming events.
In addition, we published expert advice from the first program in an ebook, “You and Your Aging Parents,” which Hebrew SeniorLife is offering as a free downloadable pdf. The discussion also inspired our “You and Your Aging Parents” blog series, a series that includes this blog post and covers the various issues and concerns you may encounter as you and your parent/s continue on the journey of aging.
How can I prepare for when my loved ones can no longer manage for themselves?
Planning ahead for the time when your loved ones can no longer care for themselves is extremely important and will ultimately decrease the level of work and stress you will experience when, and if, this change occurs. Discussing the plan in advance with the senior’s participation is ideal, as it empowers them with a feeling of control and independence.
Start by collecting as much information as you can about everything from housing options and financial issues to local senior agencies and geriatric care management services. Read books, attend lectures, consult online resources like the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs’ Age Info site, subscribe to elder care blogs and/or join a support group to hear stories from peers who are experiencing similar issues with their family member.
Meet with an elder law attorney or financial advisor to look at your loved one’s assets in relation to the trajectory of care needs, and discuss how their finances will or will not meet this trajectory.
Try to visit potential communities while your loved one is still able to participate in the process and before there is an immediate need for a change. Ultimately, it will be easier to go through this experience together and it will help you to understand the type of community the senior prefers. Also, consider communities that provide a continuum of care, starting with independent living, then moving to assisted living, long-term care and potentially a medical practice. These communities provide a greater level of intercommunication between all levels of care and hopefully a more seamless transition between programs if the elder needs additional support as he or she ages.
To download your copy of our “You and Your Aging Parent” ebook, visit our website, www.agingredefined.org.