Watching our parents get older is never easy. The person who raised you, offered unconditional love, and served as a pillar of support now needs your help more than ever. If you’re caring for an aging parent, use these tips to help both of you through this journey.
Don’t Leave Your Job
When you discover your parent needs your help, it’s tempting to throw everything else to the wayside—especially in situations where you a short time left with them. While it’s understandable to want to spend as much time as possible with your elderly parent, you need to consider the consequences of leaving your job. If you no longer have an income, will you be able to cover care for your parent? If you have children, will you be able to fund schooling, housing, food, and college expenses?
If you intend to take a leave of absence, you need to rethink your lifestyle. If you work in an industry that’s tough to reenter, it may take months or years to reobtain your position. You should also consider your benefits. If your current position offers health insurance, what will you do without it? Before quitting or taking a leave of absence, be sure to talk with your employer and HR representative to consider all of your options.
Redefine Your Budget
If your parents haven’t set aside savings for end of life care, you’ll need to organize your budget and decide what you can afford. Seniors often deal with costly expenses, including medical care, in-home care, or facility costs. It could seriously benefit you to by some burial insurance to help with funeral costs. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to handle the costs that come with caring for an elderly parent, it’s time to do your research. Check out Medicare and Medicaid, and determine what your parents qualify for. Many assume these policies cover the bulk of expenses, but that’s not the case. It’s important to assess what you can afford, and use a budgeting app like Mint to stay on track.
Invest in a Medical Alert System
With a medical alert system, your parent is in good hands. The best systems are those that help you protect your parent both in and outside of the home. The medical alarm system by MobileHelp offers GPS tracking, which allows you to find your parent should they go missing. This is especially helpful if your loved one is struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or similar memory challenges. Your parent can also call for help whenever they need it with the simple touch of a button. The peace of mind this small device provides is more than worth the investment, and the addition of a MobileHelp system may help your parent feel more secure when they’re alone.
Have the Tough Conversations
While your parents age, it’s important to have the tough conversations. You’ll need to breach uncomfortable topics including drafting a will and understanding what your parent wants if you end up with legal power over their estate. It’s also important to talk about funeral arrangements to make the process easier. Doing so ensures your parent’s wishes are honored in their burial or memorial service, and also helps you understand the financial aspects. The modern funeral costs an average of $9,000 and up, and it’s important to have a plan in place to cover this immense expenditure. Financial issues are the last thing you should be worried about during a time of grief, and having the details ironed out far in advance will help you avoid this frustration.
Consider the Benefits of Professional Help
Both you and your aging parent might prefer if you took on the role of caretaker, but that’s not always realistic. You have your own responsibilities, and it might be in the interest of both of you to hire a professional that can provide the care your parent needs. If you opt for professional care, your parent will likely ask to stay in their current home. While this can be one of the most expensive end of life care options, there are many services that can make in-home care a pleasant experience for both you and your parent.