The number of senior citizens in the United States is expected to jump from 45 million in 2010 to 86 million in 2050 thanks to advances in medicine and technology.
The growing number of elders means a growing number of uncomfortable conversations with parents and grandparents.
One of the topics that should be discussed is aging and long-term care. Do you have plans in place to help care for your loved ones?
This article serves to help you talk about the uncomfortable subjects with your elders.
Driving is universally associated with identity and responsibility. The conversation to try and limit or eliminate your parents’ driving privileges will be met with ardent protest.
Keep the concern on their health and safety. It’s natural for aging people to lose mobility, reflexes, and vision. Letting your mom or dad know they aren’t alone can help alleviate fears of losing the keys.
If you present a problem, be sure to include an answer. Outside of family giving rides, provide a list of elderly transportation services.
Your loved ones might not have a debilitating illness or condition, but the medication they take could impair their abilities required to operate a vehicle.
Finally, it is imperative to bring up their safety and the safety of those around them. Accidents and small collisions can cause serious damage to their bodies.
Talking about driving privileges is the first step to a larger conversation about long-term care.
Aging and Long-Term Care
Health and wellness can take a quick dive for a person in advanced age. Start the conversation with your parents about aging and long-term care.
Even before health gets too bad, aging and long-term care offer a wide array of helpful services to support daily living. Home health care, adult day care, and long-term care facilities are the major options.
There is a full complement of benefits to hiring home health care to provide services for your parents.
- Caregivers can provide one task or multiple tasks
- Care plans are customizable and individually created for patients
- The patient maintains a level of independent living
- Home health care can be flexible with scheduling
- Companionship to look after parents especially those with memory-loss conditions
Caregivers that come to your parents’ residence can be tasked with multiple assignments like cleaning, laundry, and cooking. They can also assist with bathing, transportation, and errands.
Some home health care companies have trained nurses to assist with bowel movements or other medical chores.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care provides a solution if your loved one is cared for by family and friends but cannot be watched during the day.
Like daycare for children, adult day care watches your parent and provides a suite of services.
- Give regular caregivers a break
- Hygiene such as bathing and personal grooming is provided
- Other seniors can interact socially
- The facility will have activities to keep people engaged
- Meals are provided
- Transportation to and from the facility
Adult day care may also offer ancillary services like support groups, counseling, and social workers.
Long-Term Care Facility
In some cases, the only option is to place your parent into a 24/7 care facility. A conversation with other family members is important before talking with your loved one.
Various reasons can lead to a nursing home, but be sure to know the benefits.
- The main attraction is 24/7 care
- Trained nurses are on staff
- Normally, there is a certain level of security and access control
- Activities and entertainment planned throughout the week
- Regular visiting hours
Nursing homes provide peace of mind for all family and friends. The social engagement aspect is a benefit that home-health care can’t always give.
A concern your parent or parents will have is the cost. If it’s not an obstacle for you, then weigh the options carefully. A senior may be too embarrassed to discuss their current financial status.
See if any of the options apply to your family:
- Some insurances do cover aging and long-term care services. Check your parents’ plan to see if they are protected.
- Look to purchase long-term care insurance before health problems arise.
- A local government may also subsidize care for seniors. It is generally limited to a few hours a week, but it may be a great way to test what you need.
- See if there is financial aid available to families that qualify
The financial obligation of choosing in-home caregivers is vastly cheaper than putting a parent in a full-time care facility. You may not have the option but to place a loved one in the more expensive nursing home.
Convey to your elders that a caregiver or facility will make their life easier. It will free up time for them to rest or pursue leisure activities.
It will be easier to convince someone to start small by having a caregiver come over a few times a month to help with a small task. As time goes on, they will see the joy and help caregivers can provide.
If you’re having discussions with one of your parents about long-term care, then you should be talking about plans for their passing.
Have they seen a lawyer to create a will? Do they want to be resuscitated if anything causes them to lose consciousness?
While your parents are still sound of mind, help them navigate the plans for their death. Help them understand what happens to their money, possessions, and property.
Show your parents a will legally binds their last wishes without causing confusion or frustration for their kin. They can keep their money from going to the IRS by setting it up to benefit family members.
Frame the conversation in a way to give them control and power of their belongings. This will help them accept certain limitations while still feeling a sense of responsibility and power over their life.
Have the Conversation
Talking about the declining health of a loved one is never easy. People want control of their lives.
You can help your parents keep their dignity and some of their independence by discussing the benefits of aging and long-term care.
If you need help navigating the financial obligations of long-term care, contact us and we will give you solutions.