As your parents get older, it’s only natural to worry about their health and welfare. Even if they’re active and in good health, there may come a time when you need to step in and take care of them the same way they once took care of you.

Daughter holding hands elderly woman's

Help Your Aging Parents

But when you think about, knowing what you need to do isn’t always clear. Whether it’s making financial decisions for them or making sure they stay current on their annual physical exams, you don’t want to offend or step over any boundaries.

In this article, we’ll go over ways you can help your aging parent live well and independently.

Assess Their Needs

Before you step in and start making decisions for your parent, you need to assess if there is an actual need. Take a moment and determine which area of daily living they may need extra support. Some of the most common areas include:

  • Financial Decisions
  • Hygiene
  • Transportation
  • Social activities
  • Medical Care

You also need to determine how much support, if any, they’re already receiving. It’s important to note that there are several filial responsibility states, which means as the adult child, you must provide long-term supportive care to your parents.

This is especially true if your parents are living below the poverty level or unable to perform the tasks of daily living.

Think About Yourself

In addition to thinking about what your parents need, you also need to think about yourself. You also have work and family commitments to maintain, as well as need time for yourself.

If you’re not able to provide the level of care your parents need, it’s okay to hand off some of the responsibility to siblings or to licensed healthcare workers.

Talk With Your Parents

Unless they’re incapacitated, you should be including your parents in the decision-making process. Discuss your thoughts and ideas, and give them a chance to process what you’re proposing. Since most people are living longer and healthier than ever before, it’s important not to assume they need you to take over.

Consider the Financial Responsibility

Taking care of another person is expensive, which means you must have a firm grasp on how much money is needed for both present-day and long-term care.

There are several government-funded programs that can help you cover the cost of doctor visits, medication and even assisted living if that is needed. Make sure to utilize these programs prior to delving into their savings or your own.

Home Safety Checklist

Regardless of how someone is, home accidents can happen. But as people get older, it’s not uncommon to have issues with balance. You can decrease the risk by adding safety features in their home. For example, handrails should be installed in the tub or shower, brighter lights bulbs used, and you can even install motion sensors so that the lights turn on and off automatically.

You can also update appliances so that they turn off after a certain amount of time. Smart devices are pretty easy to use and can also call 911 with voice commands if needed.

You can also buy a wearable safety device for them as well. This will get them the help they need if they ever fall.

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