The average life expectancy has increased over the past couple of centuries due to advances in health care and other fields. As we age, many of us will likely require some form of assisted care due to the increased life expectancy. This responsibility often falls to our adult children.
How Much Care Do They Need?
Some seniors require minimal assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs) and health care requirements. Other people may require substantial assistance with ADLs and medical needs.
Generally, activities of daily living consist of tasks required to take care of oneself and one’s needs, such as:
- Dressing and undressing
- preparing food and feeding oneself
- Taking a shower or bathing yourself
- Having the ability to use the restroom, clean yourself, and rise from the toilet.
- Mobility within the home, such as getting into and out of bed or chairs
- Taking care of one’s personal hygiene, such as shaving, brushing one’s hair, grooming, brushing one’s teeth, applying deodorant, etc.
In addition to ADLs, you must determine if caring for your elderly parents may require you to assume independent living activities. For instance, can your parents cook and prepare their own meals, shop and run errands on their own? They are able to clean their home, manage their finances, and remember to take their medications daily.
Before deciding to commit to caring for your elderly parents, you should conduct a thorough assessment of the level of care they require. Making a list of everything your parents can and cannot do for themselves can be very helpful when determining the level of care they require to continue living at home.
How Much Care Can You Provide?
It can be difficult to balance your own and your family’s needs with those of your ageing parents. Depending on their needs and abilities, caring for elderly parents might require a few hours per week or per day.
Before agreeing to be the primary caregiver for your elderly parents, you should carefully consider your obligations. Do you have a demanding job, young children, or other responsibilities that require your attention and priority? How will you manage your responsibilities and the level of parental care they require?
These questions are challenging to respond to. Your desire to keep your parents at home and out of a nursing home or other facility for long-term care may cloud your judgement.
If you lack realism, you may experience burnout or develop health problems. Likewise, your parents and other family members may suffer as a result of your excessive effort.
Do not be afraid to seek assistance. Allow siblings and other family members who are willing to assist with some of your parents’ needs. You may be able to continue to care for your elderly parents at home if you divide up caregiving responsibilities.
What Is Their Financial Situation?
Your parents may have the financial means to pay for some professional assistance with their care. If so, there may be a number of resources available to you and your parents.
If your parents have sufficient financial resources, you may want to consider the following:
- Adult day care programmes
- Meal delivery services
- Paying someone to run errands, such as grocery shopping, on your behalf
- Employing a part-time maid and cook
- Respite care services
- Home health care or nursing services
If your parents lack the financial means to pay for services, they may qualify for one or more government assistance programmes for the elderly, disabled, or infirm. The majority of communities and states have offices that provide information on programmes for children caring for elderly parents.
Where Do They Live?
The location of your parents has a direct bearing on your ability to provide for their needs. The majority of children want their parents to remain at home for as long as possible. However, if the health and medical needs of your parents become too much for you to manage, you may need to consider other options.
If your parents cannot live independently in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and independent living communities may be options. For many families, these facilities provide the care they can no longer provide for their loved ones. However, they may be concerned about elder abuse or neglect if they place their parents in a long-term care facility.
Can They Keep Driving?
It can be difficult to determine when to take the keys away from elderly drivers. However, caring for ageing parents requires understanding when they should stop driving.
The likelihood of being involved in a car accident rises with age. A tragic car accident that injures your parents and others may be caused by medical conditions, medications, and diminished reflexes and mental acuity.
Experiencing a car accident, particularly if your parent is at fault, can add to your stress and financial burdens. You can continue to focus on caring for your elderly parents while a car accident attorney handles the claim on your behalf.
As soon as possible, if you are providing care for elderly parents, you must discuss end-of-life issues. These conversations can be challenging and emotional for all parties involved. However, you must have legal documents that address these issues in order to make decisions and act swiftly in any circumstance.
Among the legal documents you may wish to have when caring for elderly parents are, but are not limited to:
- Testamentary Health Care Directives
- Living Durable Powers of Attorney
- Will HIPAA Authorize Disclosure?
- Health Care Power of Attorney
As you discuss and create end-of-life plans with your parents, it can be helpful to enlist the assistance of legal professionals.
These issues should be addressed as soon as possible. If your parent develops dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other incapacitating mental illnesses, you will need to obtain legal authority to make decisions on their behalf through the courts.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.