What You Need to Know About Caring for Your Parents

Do you have a parent who needs care or some degree of assistance? Some seniors who planned ahead may have long term disability insurance or a substantial retirement account that allows them to reside in a nursing home or assisted living facility or who may be eligible for Medicaid benefits. Consult with elder law and estate planning lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald on eligibility requirements for Medicaid as well as for any other legal questions pertaining to elder law, estate planning, or probate issues.

Many adult children have decided to take on the responsibility of caring for their elderly parents themselves. This may include having your parent move in with you. If so, are you prepared for what lies ahead?

Caring for parents is vastly different than caring for children. Some adult children end up simultaneously caring for their own children as well as their own parent. What are the differences and what could you expect?

 1.  The emotional toll

Bringing your parent into your home is a challenge, especially if your parent has physical or mental health issues. Watching your father or mother lose physical or cognitive abilities can be wrenching for all of you. Your spouse must to be fully committed or the arrangement will quickly deteriorate.

2.  How long will the parent be with you?

Are you prepared to care for an ailing parent for a number of years? It is not uncommon for women to live well into their 80s or 90s. Having a parent who is vibrant and engaged and somewhat independent makes the situation more tenable, but it may not last. Your parent’s deteriorating condition may need adaptive devices that will have to be installed in your home.

3.  Noncooperation and stubbornness

Making decisions for someone who once made the decisions for you will not come easy for your parent. Your parent may well resent the decisions you make and may choose not to abide by them when it comes to issues of health management or finances. Enlisting the aid of a third party such as a geriatric care manager can be very helpful in talking to your parent on how to facilitate this arrangement.

4.  Mental deterioration

Be aware of cognitive changes in your parent who may be exhibiting signs of dementia. Talk to your parent’s doctor or research the signs of the onset of these debilitating conditions. Once it advances to the point where they will need more sustained supervision and care, you may need to consider nursing home care.

5.  Financial stress

Another individual in your home means added expenses. Hopefully, your parent has assets that can be used, but those assets may be limited. You will have to consider such expenses as food, increased utility costs, transportation, recreational, or other medical and nursing assistance that is not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance. You may have to make changes in your home such as an elevator, a walk-in bathtub, or a bed with rails. Talk with elder law attorney Patricia Bloom-McDonald about what resources are available to assist you.

6.  Other siblings

If your parent desires or requires care that is not available or wanted in a nursing home or assisted living environment, then you or a sibling may be the ones who will take care of the parent. This can cause resentment if you feel that your siblings are not contributing in some way. While it is likely impractical for your parent to move from one sibling’s home to another, you may request that your brother and/or sister at least contribute financially, or give you some respite for a week or more. In these situations, you may want a third party such as a geriatric care manager, social worker, or in-home care company about how to handle these situations.

Consult Estate Planning Lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald

Attorney Patricia Bloom-McDonald advocates for and represents the interests of the elderly. She has been working with individuals and families for over 25 years. Contact her for your elder law questions and for all of your estate planning needs.