Preparing Your Parent for Older Age

Jul 21, 2020

At a certain point we all need to prepare for the later years of our lives — your parents included. Here are some helpful tips to get you through the tough conversation about aging.

Communication is key

Communication is important because it allows those involved to have their voices heard. This way no one feels like they are being taken advantage of or being a burden.

When starting this conversation it’s important to ask some questions about your parent’s intentions and desires. Find out what their overall goals of aging are. Where do they want to live when can’t live on their own? How are they going to pay for long-term care? What are their current concerns regarding their health and living situation?

Asking these questions will be the basis of discovering how to make them the most comfortable you can.

Remember to turn those questions around as well. What are your current concerns regarding their health and living situation? This is going to require everyone involved to be on the same page. 

Discuss Senior Housing Options

There are several options for senior housing. Discuss each option with your parent to find out which they are most comfortable with or able to utilize. Here are just a few options.

Assisted Living allows your parent to maintain some independence while getting constant medical care.

In-Home Care allows them to stay home while receiving help from a hired personal caregiver. Depending on the needs, the caregiver can stop by as often as needed or provide 24-hour care.

Sometimes a family caregiver is the best option for a parent. Your parent can either live at home or move in with the family member who is providing care. This can provide your parent with the comforts of home and being around family. If choosing this option, make sure to a deep conversation about your relationship and setting boundaries. Being a family caregiver is not for everyone. 

Sometimes budget can dictate which of these option is most viable.

Financial Resources

Make sure to speak with your parent about their current financial situation. Do they have any retirement savings? How much debt do they have? Are they collecting social security or a pension? 

Talking about finances can be uncomfortable but it will give you a good idea of how long that money will last and where best to use it.

Legal planning

Being prepared for emergencies is one of the most important aspects of planning for older age.  When something happens the last thing you want to be doing is sorting through paperwork and trying to make big decisions. 

Organizing your parent’s legal documents will help keep everything in one safe place and help make decisions when they are unable to. 

Having a will can avoid fighting within the family. A living will can help your parent dictate how the end of their life and keep anyone else from having to make the hard choice. 

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Throughout the entire planning process it is important to always communicate with each other. The entire family will be affected by these decisions and you want everyone to be comfortable, your parent especially.

Check out AARP’s planning guide for families for more information on having these difficult conversations and understanding your loved one’s goals.

You can also contact one of our Summit County partners, Direction Home Akron/Canton, for more assistance on getting help for your parent or to help a family caregiver.