Watching your parents and grandparents get older can be emotional. You feel proud of them for the wisdom they’ve gained over the years, and enjoy listening to the stories they tell of times long in the past. At the same time, it can be difficult to watch them struggle to do physical (and even cognitive) things that used to be easy.
Just as they once cared for you in your childhood, now it is your turn to care for them in their twilight years. What can you do to make sure they’re as happy and well cared for as possible?
- Check in often.
If you live nearby, drop in often to spend some time together and see how they’re doing, whether it’s in their home or in a nursing facility. If they are living with you, take the time to sit down with them regularly to check on how they feel. Seeing you often reminds them that you’re still around and you still care, no matter how busy your schedule might be. If you don’t live near them, you can provide the same type of comfort with a simple phone call every few days. Ask them how they’re feeling, and if the answer isn’t positive, do what you can to help. Old age can be very lonely. It makes a huge difference for older people to be reminded that they are not being forgotten.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Caring for an aging loved one is not something you have to do all by yourself. There are so many people and services that can help you and your loved one in every phase of aging. For starters, you can recruit the help of other family members. You can also help your loved one sign up for volunteer visits and meal programs for food and companionship. There are services that provide in-home nurses and even in-home therapists. Depending on their situation, your loved one may also benefit greatly from a nursing home or hospice care.
- Take care of yourself.
Caring for an aging loved one can be stressful, especially in the later phases. Make sure you take time for yourself. It’s far too easy to get burned out when you forget about your own needs because you are so busy tending to a parent or grandparent. You may find it beneficial to look into caregiver support groups, where you can connect with other people who are experiencing the same things.
- Encourage your parent or grandparent to make an estate plan as early on as possible.
Estate planning is not something to put off and put off, but so many people wait until it is too late. Encourage your loved one to work with a lawyer to create an estate plan and a plan for financially managing their assets if they should be incapacitated. It will give both of you the peace of mind of knowing you have a plan for the future, and their wishes will be respected even when they can no longer express what they want.
As an Elder law attorney with over 30 years experience, I have both personally and professionally experienced the fears, concerns, joys, and sadnesses that you are experiencing. We are here today because we have been there. We understand the complexities of caring for a senior, and advocate passionately for our clients. If you or a loved one is ready to protect your future by starting a plan today, contact us at (866) 253-6994.