Ways You Can Alleviate Your Aging Parents’ Fears

As our parents age, it is only natural that they can become concerned about the future. Question such as: who will take care of them? How will they use transportation? How will they stay in communication with their loved ones? Who will be their friends should their existing friends no longer be alive?

Ultimately, they may also have concerns about their own potential physical disability and the need for long-term care outside the home. As a child of an aging parent, there are steps you can take to ensure that they have peace of mind. While ultimately the decisions made belong to your parents, you can their alleviate their fears by letting them know that you are there for them.

Let us share several of the tips we give our clients to use when working with their aging parents who are concerned about the future.

1. Talk together about the future. As soon as you can, schedule time to talk to your aging parents about the future. The best way to find out what they are concerned about is to ask. Are they concerned about your schedule? If you are available to them in a crisis? Do they worry about isolation? Knowing what they’re concerned about, can help you shape the conversation and allow you to interject what concerns you as well.

2. Put good communication practices in place now. Most aging adults fear isolation. They also worry about what happens should something happen to them in the middle the night and they are unable to access a telephone to call for help. You can help stop these fears by putting communication practices in now. Set up a time for the two of you to talk together. This may be several times throughout the day or once in the morning and once in the evening. Put together a plan for the instance that you do not receive communication on either side. When should 911 be called? Is there a local friend or neighbor who can check in?

3. Set up local community support before you need it. It can be difficult to find help in a crisis. Before your aging parent needs help, work together to establish a local support group. While friends are an excellent choice for support, if they are the same age as your parents they may not be able to help in a crisis. Talk to churches, support groups, neighbors, and the adult children of the close friends.

4. Discuss long-term care. When it comes to planning for the future and the legal planning that you need, many families discuss decision makers, inheritance, and planning for younger generations. What is not discussed, however, is how the aging parent would like long-term care handled. Although the parent’s wishes may not necessarily be able to be honored based on his or her care needs, it is important to discuss now how the parent would like you to handle care. For example, is it possible to receive care in the home? Is there a long-term care insurance policy that can be used? Are their facilities that are close to adult children so there can be frequent visits? These are important conversations to have with your aging parent and an elder law attorney.

5. Complete California estate planning in long-term care planning advance of needing it. While most of us do not want to think about estate planning or long-term care planning that we may need in the future, is important to do so early. Making choices, choosing decision makers, and selecting what you want for the future can only be done when you have the capacity to do so. Unfortunately, we see many families who put off making a durable power of attorney or planning for the high cost of long-term care. Make it a priority to get this done in advance of needing it.

We know when it comes to caring for your parents, you may have many questions. Do not wait to ask us today by contacting our office to schedule an appointment with attorney Dallas Atkins. We work with families just like yours every day to help them get the long-term care solutions that they need.

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