If there is something that is inevitable to happen in every family, it is the fact that parents will always grow old. You cannot do anything to prevent it from happening. Because of this, it is highly recommended that you take the proper steps on how to handle this kind of situation. The bright thing to do is to make the necessary preparations for the parental care. You can follow these steps:
Step 1: Talk To The Entire Family
“No one wants to think about what might happen to your older parents. But if you truly want to prepare for the future needs of your parents, then everyone needs to be on the same page moving forward,” says Dr. Shirley Newell.
At this point, there is a great necessity to emphasize that the decision on parental care is something that everyone in the family should make. Keep in mind that you cannot do it on your own. You have to ask for the comments or suggestions from the other members of the family.
As such, try to set up a family meeting so that you can discuss the list of available options you can choose from for parental care. Give due notice to your siblings and parents about this upcoming talk to give them proper time to think about what you are going to discuss. Fortunately, the latest advancements in technology now allow people who are living miles away from each other to communicate still. Hence, you have video conference or teleconference, depending on your preferences.
Step 2: Be Sensitive To The Needs Of Your Parents
Before you propose an idea, make sure to ask the needs, wants and requests of your parents first. Find out about their plans for the next few years. “Making effective decisions about the care of a loved one often takes more time than you anticipate and requires an understanding of the complicated long-term care system,” according to Jody Gastfriend LCSW. If you agree with what they have to say, then there will no longer be a problem about it. You can just set up arrangements based on the stated plan. However, if there is a disagreement as to the methods to follow, do not worry because you can still talk to them about it. Just remember to do it politely and respectfully.
Avoid offending your parents. Take note that these elderly individuals can be highly sensitive when it comes to the topic of parental care. As much as possible, try to stay calm during the meeting. Let them talk first and do not make unnecessary interruptions while they are expressing their thoughts.
Step 3: Weigh The Options Available
After listing down the list of available choices for the family, the next thing to do is to think of the pros and cons of each option. Some of the choices include sending them to nursing homes, allowing them to live with you or having them stay at your sibling’s place. To make a better decision, be sure to consider these factors:
- Age of the parent involved
- The current medical condition or mental health status
- Financial capability of the household
- Needs or wants of the elderly mother or father
- Long-term insurance
Be smart enough to prepare for parental care as early as possible. Do not wait until the last minute before the family will talk about this matter. As already mentioned above, this fact is inevitable. To avoid future problems or complications, the right thing to do is to make the needed preparations. According to Carol Bradley Bursack, “Caregiving is a multi-faceted job that requires a whole slew of skills: medical, financial, legal, interpersonal, etc. The more you can learn about what lies ahead for your loved one and yourself, the better prepared you will be throughout this journey.”