There is no better time to care for our parents than old age. They went through sleepless nights, restless days, and hard work to make life flourish for many. Also, they have made tons of sacrifices, so kids are expected to reciprocate such care until their last breath.
Parents are exceptional people and deserve to be treated special, especially in old age. Conversely, many parents prefer not to be a burden on their kids in old age. They might be prompt to make decisions to remain independent. However, you still need to care for them as a sign of love.
Here are tips to take care of your parent in old age:
1. Discuss Adult Diapers
Adult diapers or nappies are a long-term solution for aging parents. These products are used by parents suffering from incontinence and related issues. They are in different sizes, shapes, and forms. If your parents suffer from urinary or fecal incontinence, it is vital to discuss adult diaper change with them.
Your parents deserve extra care and attention at this time, and diapers are a straightforward way to go. Some parents may be reluctant to wear diapers because of stigma or negative myths.
However, these diapers make them convenient and comfortable as they carry out daily activities. An adult diaper is needed to make work easy for your aging parents and caretaker.
Since diapers are commonly referred to as briefs or incontinence pads worn by kids, they have negative connotations. But there are many benefits to wearing adult diapers for elders.
Here are some reasons to use briefs.
- Urinary and fecal incontinence.
- Bedridden or have impaired bladder control.
- Patients with dementia or mental issues.
- In severe cases of diarrhea.
- Ladies are prone to infections caused by unhygienic toilets.
2. Seek Long-Term Care
Parents who don’t want to be a burden might be okay with the disturbing situation, but this may take a toll on their mental and physical health. It is best to discuss your parents’ living situation till their last breath.
Furthermore, discuss a contingency living option for them if the situation worsens. This discussion should be when your parents are lucid because the WHO records 10 million new cases of dementia in seniors. Furthermore, 70% of these cases are also associated with Alzheimer’s. Discuss care options with them and ensure you follow the choice.
Here are some questions to help:
- Is their present home well-suited for older people?
- Does the home need hazard or safety installment?
- In what situation could your parents relocate to seek a new home?
- What viable housing alternative can you or they afford?
Many care options include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care nursing. You must sit with parents to discuss the best choice that fits the situation before their age.
3. Prepare Financially
Your aging parents need financial protection as well as you. Ensure you create a financial plan with your parents. For instance, you can escort your parents to their financial advisor or attorney for financial guidance. This meeting will expose the financial plan of your parents and how you can assist where needed.
Sometimes, you may have to make this payment with long-term care insurance for future coverage. It is best to pay for long-term care that lasts until their last breath, like a senior living community. In the discussion, ask your parents about their bills to assist you in knowing what to cover in case they become incapacitated.
4. Create a Health Care Plan
Aging parents need health issue protection, health treatment, maintenance. These options are essential to understand your parents’ health issues. For example, some issues may be hereditary, and knowledge could help prevent them from affecting your health and well-being. Talking about health, finances, fitness, medication, and nutrition management is a sensitive discussion for your aging parents.
Some parents may try to hide their health condition to prevent being a burden. Here are some steps to follow when dealing with your aging parent’s health issues.
- Watch out for a decline in physical appearances like breathing difficulties or teeth issues.
- Look for changes or neglect in the upkeep of their home.
- Observe warning signs like memory loss that influence their everyday activities.
- Observe changes in weight, mood, and social relationships.
Also, ensure your hazard and safety instruments are installed at home to prevent accidents like falling. The AARP HomeFit Guide is a simple tool you can use to ensure your aging parents’ home is safer.
- Follow them to see their doctor to discuss medication and health issues. Research your parents’ health issues to know how to combat them before they escalate.
- Look for warning signs when you’re with your parents.
- Talk to your parents’ doctors to have clarity on their issues.
You can visit websites like PREPARE, which contain a guide on creating directives and preparing for medical care in case of serious issues. Also, the government has published a resource at Eldercare Locator containing health insurance, benefits, publications, and programs to assist seniors.
5. Discuss Last Wishes / Estate Planning
Your parents’ lives have been about caring for you, and now is the time to return the favor. Conversation with them about their legacy would help you know what they plan to leave behind. It is a good idea to follow them to see their estate planning attorney to create a trust or will to prevent appearing in court to claim their assets. Seniors don’t have the energy for such frustrating cases.
In addition, it will also help if you ask them what funeral type they prefer, how to manage their remains, and what to wear them on the last day. These conversations are unsettling, but they create comfort in them, knowing you have their interest at heart and in the future. For estate planning, you can refer to the Estate Planning Info and FAQs published by the American Bar Association, covering topics like introduction to wills, assets planning, and revocable trusts.
6. Help Them Live Their Best Lives Today
Caring for your aging parents is not all about the future but also about helping them enjoy life each day. As they age, they may face physical and mental challenges. As a result, they can feel a lack of purpose, which threatens future plans. A publication by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 20% of seniors aged 55 and above suffer from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
There are resources for seniors that discuss easy ways to strengthen cognitive aging efforts, how to address anxiety and stress, etc. In addition, visit your aging parents regularly to know how they’re feeling and what support to render.
These are a few ways life has presented you to show appreciation to your aging parents for what they did for you. Ensure you discuss these options with them before acting. They may feel reluctant but convince them that they need the plans.