By Tamia R. Banks HSM BA, LPN, CMCN, Senior Solutions Broker
As our parents age, we also notice our roles changing. They took care of us for so long it becomes difficult at times to see them decline. There may be difficult conversations that need to take place or actual hands-on care. Well, how you handle it will help how they will respond and accept the inevitable. Are you ready?
Things you or your siblings are noticing; forgetfulness, decline in personal hygiene, unsteadiness, medications not being taken, lack of appetite, or lack of socialization. These are just a few and you may notice one or multiple. Now, just because you notice it one day and not the other does not mean Mom or Dad has “lost it” and you need to jump in and take over. This is the time that you and others should spend more time with them to monitor the frequency. Knowing their baseline will help. Remember you grew up with them and they took care of you. At this time, you may want to gather your parents and other family members to have a short conversation about their wants and needs as they continue to age. Getting your parents involved and keeping them involved is key. Knowing where they are with their thoughts around aging will help all involved. This is a great start to planning for your aging parent.
How do you break the ice? Are Mom or Dad at an acceptable place in their thoughts about aging? By now we all understand there is a grieving process with many things in life, from getting a new car, to losing a job, and yes now with dealing with aging. There are mornings many of us may wake with a pain or two and wonder where that came from. There may even be times we laid the phone or keys down and forgot where we laid them. Just imagine if these things happened three to four times a week or even daily. How would that make you feel? So, as we approach our aging parent, have some sympathy. Try not to accuse them of something or even try to make them remember. There may be times you just need to complete that memory for them. They may be already beating themselves up inside so don’t make it worse.
Start planning sooner rather than later. Try not to wait until a bad accident happens or an illness occurs. Having everyone on the same page would make things better for all involved. Here are a few things you should consider; having a Financial Power of Attorney, Health Power of Attorney, Living Will, Trust, a plan in place for living arrangements including amenities, important social opportunities, and personal care.
For more information, contact Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., focusing on the issues of Older Americans: legal, financial, free guidance for residential placement, and healthcare issues. Call: 309-693-1060. Website: www.MRMS-INC.COM. Location: 809 W. Detweiller Dr., Peoria, IL 61615.
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