As the Baby Boomers continue to turn 65 by 10,000 a day, many individuals face the prospect of caring for aging parents. While conversations about a caregiving plan with an elderly loved one can be difficult, there are a few topics that are too important to ignore.
With this in mind, we’ve created an aging parents checklist to help you think through the various components of a caregiving plan.
Aging Parents Checklist: Questions to Ask Before You Get Started
As your parents begin to get older, you’ll want to start thinking about getting plans in place in the event that they’re unable to care for themselves in the future. As a part of your aging parents checklist, you’ll want to explore the following questions:
- What financial plans are in place?
- Are they currently in good health?
- Have they put all the documents someone will need in one place?
- Who is best equipped to have conversations about caregiving needs?
- Are all of the documents you’ll need in one place?
To guide you in your conversations, we’ve created a five-step aging parent checklist, which includes the following steps:
- Prepare for tough conversations
- Create a team
- Determine the needs to be met
- Form a plan
We’ll explore the activities that you can do to prepare for each of these steps below.
Prepare for Tough Conversations
It can be intimidating to talk to elderly parents about plans for their future needs. After a lifetime of high independence, some parents are scared to let others help, even when it’s evident that new medical or financial hardships are on the horizon.
As a part of your aging parent checklist, here are some of the questions that you should explore:
- Is there someone in the family who might be best equipped to have conversations about senior care with your parents?
- How do your parents respond when they are faced with difficult situations or conversations?
- What financial supports are available or in place?
- What concerns do you have? What concerns do they have?
Remember to approach conversations in a gentle, open manner. Express your concern and support, but allow your parents to have a high degree of input into the way that plans are made. Seniors should feel equipped to make decisions, rather than forced into a particular outcome.
Create a Team
An aging parent checklist isn’t something that you have to tackle on your own. If there are particular family members or friends that are well-equipped to provide support, ask them to be a part of your support team.
Having a support network in place can help your parents (and you) to feel more comfortable with plans for caregiving.
Determine the Needs to Be Met
Aging can bring a host of changes to an elderly parent’s life. To form a meaningful plan, you’ll need to work with your team (and your parents) to discuss potential future needs. As you think through the possibilities, here are some of the things to keep in mind.
If they’ll be living on their own, consider their needs for:
- Help with home maintenance, upkeep, and repairs (if they’ll be living on their own)
- Assistance with daily living tasks, like grocery shopping or cooking
- Pet care
- Accessibility adjustments (wheelchair ramps, handrails, etc.)
For financial affairs, account for:
- Ability to pay bills and keep up with records
- Available benefits and programs to aid with medical or personal costs
Other things to keep in mind include:
- Ability to drive or need for transportation
- Ability to perform basic personal grooming tasks, like bathing
- Making decisions for health care needs
- Need for aids and devices for assistance
Once you’ve considered the elements that you want to plan for, you can move on to the next part of your aging parent checklist and form a plan.
Form a Plan
Now, you’re ready to form a plan. Figure out who will be responsible to help make decisions or assist with the various needs you listed out above. Make note of where important documents are kept.
Make sure that you don’t try to take on every task alone. Use your team well, and remember to involve your parents heavily, asking for input along the way. Having their buy-in will make it easier to act on the plans that you’ve made.
In some circumstances, this step might be delayed. If your parents are currently in good health and able to care for themselves, it may be several years before you need to act on plans. If this is the case, make sure to review and update your plans regularly with your team.
Like everything in life, your plans will likely change as you put them into action. But having an aging parent checklist in place, along with a support team, can help your parents to feel equipped for anything that life may bring.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.