What are your parents’ goals as they age at home? Would they want to downsize first or stay in the family home? If abilities changed, would they want their children to help them with more intimate daily activities like showering and toileting, or would they rather have professional home care workers?
Make sure you and your parents take the steps to protect their wishes for aging at home. These are the four steps you should be taking as a family to ensure your parents’ goals are met.
Talk to an Attorney Who Specializes in Elder Law
Start by talking to an attorney. Your parents should have powers of attorney set up. With these legal protections in place, their medical and financial needs are met if they cannot take care of these matters on their own.
Your mom and dad should have living wills or advance directives in place. This legal form makes sure that their wishes on matters like resuscitation, feeding tubes, and life-saving treatments are followed.
Finally, your parents may want to have guardianship paperwork drafted if dementia and cognitive issues are present. They don’t want people fighting over who becomes their guardian if it comes to that.
Complete a Home Safety Check
Go through your parents’ home and look for issues involving their safety. Missing rails on stairs into the basement, slippery decorative rugs on a wood floor, and tile floors in the bathroom can all increase the risk of a fall.
Grab bars improve bathrooms by giving your parents a supportive bar to hold while stepping in and out of the bathtub or shower. Non-slip flooring in a bathroom, kitchen, and entry helps with traction if the floor is wet. Brighter lighting makes it easier to avoid obstacles on stairs or in a hallway.
Keep Up With Appointments
Your parents should be able to age at home, but health can be one of the biggest hurdles. Make sure your parents keep up with yearly medical appointments. If a chronic health condition is diagnosed, your mom or dad needs to follow the doctor’s recommendations.
In addition to yearly check-ups for health, your parents should have their eyes examined each year. If glasses are needed, they need to wear them. If there’s an eye disease like cataracts or glaucoma, they need to follow instructions. If they’re told to stop driving, make sure they hand over the keys and arrange transportation services for them.
Schedule Care Services
Home care is one of the best ways to ensure your parents can age at home. Caregivers come to their home to help with daily tasks like laundry, housekeeping, meals, transportation, personal care, and companionship. Call a home care agency to discuss how to get started.