Planning for Parent Care

By: Carol McGowan RN and Cindy Streekstra RN

When our family members are well, we usually do not think about what may happen in the future. As baby boomers age, they will become the largest group of elderly that our nation has ever had. And, their parents are aging as well. As a result of these two realities most families will be caring for aging loved ones.

The Challenge - Family members do not anticipate and prepare for being caregivers. We're too busy with jobs, children and other responsibilities. Our parents seem to have an ageless quality about them. We live with a certain sense of denial about the aging of our loved ones and what their needs might be.

The Solution - Begin anticipating future needs and prepare for the possibility of family caregiving.

Every family will address their reaction to and the possible transition to family elder care in their own way. Preparing and planning for care of an elderly loved one helps families avoid having to make hasty decisions in a crisis situation. The more prepared the better. Planning provides choices.

1.Explore your family history regarding elder care, and elicit how each member of the family feels about caring for an elderly family member.

2.Recognize the realities of the current situation for example, pre-existing medical conditions and diagnosis.
&bulleducate yourself and your family about your loved one's condition and care needs.
&bullgather information that can be used for current and future elder care planning.

3.Include elders in the planning:
&bullthey can help guide the planning, they may have already given a lot of thought or made provisions for many of the areas that need planning
&bullthey can be involved in making the decisions for their future which helps take the guesswork out of planning.

How your family views elder care is based on family history, culture and religious upbringing. Each family member has his/her own values and beliefs about caring for aging parents.

Start the preparing now. What are your family history, culture and religious beliefs regarding taking care of aging parents? What is each family member's feeling and level of commitment about caring for aging parents? What are the current care needs and realities of elder care in your family? Begin the conversation with your family members and parents. Start preparing for the future now.

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