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Blog Articles: Helping Your Parents Live Safely at Home

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When you envision your “golden years,” what do you see? Are you living independently, being active and enjoying life? Or do you worry that you’ll struggle with declining health and physical limitations? For many seniors, reality falls somewhere in between. Perhaps you see that in your own aging parents.

If you ask any elderly person where they want to spend their remaining years, the vast majority will say they want to stay in their own home.  Unfortunately for some, it can be a very fast aging process from active senior to an elderly person who needs care, one that their family may not be prepared for according to Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC.  Helping your parents live safely at home is a big and ongoing commitment on your part.

Tapinto.net’s recent article entitled “Caring for Elderly Parents: Can They Live Safely at Home?” says that, no matter their physical and mental status, most seniors want to remain in their homes rather than move in with family or to a care facility. However, aging parents may require oversight and care to keep them safe and to manage their daily living activities.

If you’ve determined that your parent needs assistance to stay safe and independent at home, but you’re not sure if you and other family members can handle the caregiving responsibilities, here are some thoughts to help you. First, speak with your parents and help them realistically assess their living situation. Discuss all issues candidly and address any problems. Helping your parents live safely at home requires looking at these factors:

Safe living environment. Seniors are frequently injured in and around their homes by common hazards such as rugs and poor lighting that cause falls.  The bathroom is the #1 place for serious injuries.  Online resources are available to help children assess the safety of a parent’s home, or you may be more comfortable hiring a professional geriatric care manager to perform the assessment and make recommendations.

Finances. Review the financial situation of your parents to be certain you understand all sources of income, assets and debts. Review the level of medical and insurance coverage. You should also see if each of your parents has a will and powers of attorney for healthcare and for finances. Make sure that you know the location of these key documents. If they do not have these documents, it should be a priority to help them find an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney to draft them.

Mental and physical health. See if your parents have any changes in their physical and mental health. Review the medications that your parents are taking and consult their health care providers regarding any specific requirements. Make certain they have had basic vaccinations.

The ability of the family to provide assistance. Have a frank discussion with siblings and nieces and nephews about their ability to provide the level or kind of care that your aging parents need. Caring for elderly parents can be overwhelming. Know that you may need support to avoid caregiver burnout.  There are also professionals who can help your parents with activities of daily living (ADLs), personal care and companionship services. Home health aides or certified nursing assistants provide help with ADLs that may include assistance with:

  • Bathing, grooming, using the toilet and dressing
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housekeeping, laundry and running errands
  • Medication reminders and picking up prescriptions
  • Hobbies and exercise; and
  • Companionship, transportation and help getting to appointments.

Beck & Lenox offers a lot of resources and professional organizations to aid in helping your parents live safely at home.

Reference: Tapinto.net (Nov. 11, 2020) “Caring for Elderly Parents: Can They Live Safely at Home?”

 

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