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How to cope with your aging parents

THE PLAN
Reassure Your Parents.

Let them know that you are supporting them and can be depended upon to help solve their problems. Emphasize family bonds.

Educate Yourself.

You, and your parents if possible, need to become information specialists in areas relevant to their changing situation.

Legal matters, including wills, property ownership and powers of attorney.
Financial arrangements.
Healthcare resources and home support services.
Housing and recreation resources.
Current knowledge on the aging process.

Take Stock.

As health and living problems arise, obtain an assessment of your parent’s challenges and needs. Such an assessment would best be organized through a Case Manager and could include a physician, nurse, social worker and/or other professional. A lawyer and financial advisor may also be helpful in some instances.

Help Parents Retain Control.

Respect your parents need to make their own decisions and remain in control of their lives.

Share The Work.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Share the emotional and physical responsibilities among family, friends, personal support workers, and other health care professionals.

Think Creatively.

Brainstorm with family and friends about ways to help older family members maintain independence, continue interests on some level, and have as much decision making opportunity as possible.

Make Small Changes.

Opt for the smallest change possible at each step. Don’t be overwhelmed by the complete care that may be necessary in 5 years when partial help may be all that is required right now.

Get Counseling.

Obtain professional counseling if the situation and the relationship with an elderly parent become overwhelming.

Respect Your Own Needs.

Be honest with your parents about your time and energy limits. Make them aware of the necessity for your recreation and pursuit of interests.

 

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

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