People who want to help aging parents can use common sense and a little bit of planning to make a difficult process a bit easier. The right steps, in fact, can also open important options to stretch tight. There are several steps you can take to do the right thing and establish a sure foundation for seniors.
Talk it out. Start with a frank, heart-to-heart conversation between seniors and caregivers – sons, daughters, or other relatives. “At the center is good family communication,” says Gail Myers, a spokesperson for the New York State Office for the Aging, “The topics may not be the most comforting, but talking is the only way to find out what older parents want and what you can do.”
Make a list. Next, you’ll need to know just what funds and other financial resources you have at your disposal. That means taking an inventory of your parents’ assets and combing through possessions such as their home, retirement account savings, Social Security and pension benefits. That’s never been an easy icebreaker with parents, no matter what their age, so you might turn to Websites such as the National Institutes of Health to provide a checklist of items to cover. The process doesn’t necessarily stop there. You and your siblings should also be frank about what you can provide.
Consult with an expert. It is also a good idea to contact a local office of aging – an agency supervised by most counties and states. An appointment can be set up to have a staff member or social worker visit elderly parents to assess their needs. Another alternative: Many faith-based organizations have family services that will send out an elder care expert who can visit parents and draw up a list of needs that will make their lives safe and comfortable.
You may find the insight enlightening. Aging office experts have an eye for what elderly parents need to function. In some instances, seniors need to rearrange their living space to make movement around a house or apartment easier. Sometimes an occasional visit from a local volunteer to help with cleaning, preparing meals or running errands makes a big difference day to day. Additionally, case workers are well versed in government funding sources and a variety of breaks that are extended to the elderly, whether they come from volunteer groups or the Veterans’ Administration. Finally, case workers can be an invaluable source of leads on agencies or firms that employ home care assistants as well.
Related Article: Part 1: How Creative Planning Can Help Beat Costs of Elder Care