1. Review Both of Your Budgets
Money talk is not the first on many people’s agenda when it comes to caring for aging parents. But it’s best to know what you’re really working with to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
So examine your parents’ financial situation and help them to make appropriate changes that will be in their best interest.
Also, review your own budget. Know what you have to offer. A great idea is to keep their finances separate from yours to know exactly where your limitations lie.
2. Keep an Open Line of Communication
When the time comes that you need to step up to the plate and actively care for your aging parents, commit yourself to open communication.
This can be tricky, depending on your past history with them. Not all relationships are sunshine and roses.
Also, avoid assuming you know what your parents want. And further still, remember that simply because you feel you know what’s best for them, it may not be what they want.
Rather than inviting conflict, communicate and do your best to hear them out. Try to come to an agreement in which all parties are satisfied.
3. Have the Big Conversation
Having the “what if” conversation is typically uncomfortable. And that may very well be so with you and your parents, too.
Still, talk with them about who will be the power of attorney or the healthcare proxy. Also, review their will with them. Or, go with them to the attorney’s office to finalize it.
While none of these things are fun to talk about or take care of, they are necessary.
4. Become Knowledgeable on Medicare and Medicaid
These two healthcare plans can be very confusing and tedious, to say the least.
Take your time in understanding the benefits and limitations of each plan. Talk to a guidance counselor about co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses, and what each plan covers.
Remember, if it’s confusing to you, imagine what it looks like to your parents. Dedicate yourself to being the pro when it comes to all things healthcare.
5. Carefully Consider Care Management
Depending on their physical condition, caring for aging parents may mean a very hands-on approach.
Firstly, accept what type of care they truly need. Secondly, consider the options.
Do you really want them to live with you? Can you hire professional help for in-home care? Is it time to look for a good nursing home or assisted living facility?
6. Remove Yourself from the Back Burner
During this time of life, it might feel like you’re a new parent all over again, staying up late into the night worrying and wondering.
Although caring for aging parents ranks high on the to-do list, remember your self-care as well. Just like a new parent, it’s important to take care of yourself. After all, if you’re running ragged, you won’t be your best self.
So, try to get enough sleep at night, eat a balanced diet, socialize, and get your body moving with some form of exercise.
Caring for aging parents is no small task. More than anything, it’s a noble endeavor. Still, it can quickly fade you out into a stressed-out oblivion. A therapist can help you proactively navigate this unique era in life, transforming stress into loving care.
If you’re ready to reach out, I’d love to hear from you. To begin, please see my family counseling page for more information on how I can help.