This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook. Sign up to receive the blog series and download our original eBook at www.hslindependentliving.org.
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.