Aging parents: When Health Fails

Each Generation Recognizes the Obligation to Care for the Elderly.
             Fulfilling the Obligation is a Whole Other Ballgame.

Fact: After age 65, an American stands a 70% chance they will need non-medical help with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, housekeeping, toileting). (American Society on Aging)

While some adult-children will never have to concern themselves with long-term care decisions for their aging parent(s), the vast majority of them will.

Fact: 2 out of 3 families have never had these conversations about Mom or Dad’s long-term care wishes. (AARP 2011)
Generally speaking, 75% of adult-children making long-term care decisions are doing so as a result of a crisis; Mom or Dad is being discharged from the hospital after suffering a debilitating stroke and cannot live alone. Can they live with you?

Fact: Family caregivers live an average of 480 miles from the one they care for (Alzheimer’s Association & National Alliance for Caregiving) and they are: raising families of their own and are financial contributors to their dual income home.

The road map through the long-term care system is not easy to navigate. Why? Each family situation is unique. Family dynamics play a significant role in the negotiation; consider your relationship with Mom or Dad, your siblings and extended family. Is there a history that suggests Mom or Dad should or should not be cared for by family? Finances have a major role in determining which care options are available. Does Mom or Dad have long-term care insurance that makes private-pay in-home care an option? Or, is a nursing facility, paid for by Medicare, most affordable.

Whether you are one of the 25% making long-term care decisions in advance or find yourself one of the 75% responding to a crisis, I point you to a series of extremely well written articles that will provide sound advice in the areas of:

  • Building Positive Relationships (with aging parent(s))
  • Brothers, Sisters and Aging Parents (understanding sibling dynamics surrounding care for aging parents)
  • Helping When Health Fails (general principles to consider in charting the course of long-term care).
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