We know we won't have our parents with us forever, yet many of us still find ourselves putting off spending quality time with them, evaluating their needs, and helping them plan for the future. If you're reading to start helping your parents prepare for their futures, here are a few concrete steps you can take today.
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5 Things You Can Do For Your Parents TODAY
When planning for the future with your parents, always strive to communicate openly and honestly, offering compassionate assistance that's caring and not controlling.
Address Home Safety Concerns
The longer an older adult lives independently, the more home safety hazards they'll naturally accumulate. While throw rugs may have served them well for decades, they can easily become slip hazards. While the claw-foot tub was a romantic and whimsical option when they first moved into the house, it may now be a potential liability.
To help your loved one address home safety concerns, consider taking the following steps:
- Clear floors of loose items (runners, rugs, cords, clutter)
- Add railings and grab-bars, particularly in high-slip areas like the bathroom
- Update light fixtures for maximum wattage
Making sure seniors can see well and have clear pathways in which to walk can go a long way toward ensuring they don't slip and fall.
Establish Power of Attorney
Power of attorney gives someone written permission to make decisions on behalf of another. It's good for us to help our parents think through who they should appoint as power of attorney while they're still able to make that decision with a clear head.
While it may be difficult for our parents to consider surrendering control, this is an important step that will enable us to care for them well in the future.
Clarify End-of-Life Wishes
Discussing end-of-life wishes can be difficult, but it is an essential conversation we must have with our parents.
Nearly everyone has a story about a good death or a hard death among those they love. The difference between these experiences may rest on whether we have shared our wishes for how we want to spend our final days. (AARP)
When discussing end-of-life care, be sure to ask questions like:
- Whom they do (and do not) want to be involved in decision-making
- What measures they do (or do not) want to be taken to preserve or extend their lives
- Whether they do (or do not) want a DNR order
Clarifying these wishes now can save extra layers of difficulty down the line.
Help with Estate Planning
Do your parents have a will or trust? If not, now is the right time to encourage them to set one up. If they die without one in place, their assets will be divided among all living relatives rather than going to any specific people they would like them to go to or causes they would like to support.
The best way to get started is always by consulting an attorney.
Discuss Long-Term Care Options
While we all hope we'll be able to care for ourselves in our golden years, the fact remains that many of us will need help.
Before your parents are no longer capable of living independently, initiate a candid conversation about their wishes.
- Ideally, where would they like to live?
- What sort of living situation do they envision for themselves in the future?
- How can the family help meet these wishes to the best of their abilities?
It's not always possible (or even feasible) to meet our parents' expectations for their futures, but engaging in an open and candid conversation about their hopes can help set expectations and perhaps ease friction moving forward.
Choose Jacaranda Trace
Here at Jacaranda Trace, we understand the complexities of senior living.
To hear more about our independent living community, or to chat about anything else, please feel free to contact us.