Not everyone ages the same way. Even as our parents get older, one parent may be significantly healthier than the other. A parent may suddenly experience a major health crisis, such as cancer or a stroke, and may have special health care needs. Or one parent may need senior care while the other may wish to stay independently within the home, or even insist on doing most of the healthcare “heavy lifting” themselves.
If your parents are still relatively healthy, now is the time to discuss what may happen if one parent experiences a sudden health scare that may also impact their quality of life and come up with a plan in case this happens.
- Discuss your parents’ needs and wishes – The best way to handle this one is to simply ask, and involve your siblings as much as possible, even if you all live far away from one another. These discussions will impact the entire family, and you need to have open, frank discussions with both parents regarding their wishes.
- Get the estate and financial resources in order – Make sure Mom and Dad’s financial records and any pertinent financial information is available and ready, should the need arise for a fast move into an assisted living facility before it may have been expected. This is another full-family discussion that involves siblings. Ask tough questions regarding power of attorney and whether or not there is a will, and who the estate attorney is as well as what should be done with the estate when one or both parents pass on.
- Get professional input – If you and your parents have already begun “shopping” for an assisted care facility or assisted living arrangement, ask your parents what their top choice was and involve the professionals there regarding whether or not Mom and Dad may need moved. Discuss your plans with your parents’ doctors and pharmacists so their medical needs can be met and make sure there is a plan in place so you can move quickly if you need to.
How To Handle A Senior Living Care Separation
Sometimes, when only one parent may need senior living care or assisted living help, the other parent may choose to remain in the home. This is perfectly acceptable and never a problem, as long as the other parent is healthy and has a little bit of assistance from you or any other nearby sibling or relatives.
Create A Schedule For Each Parent
If Mom wants to visit Dad (or vice versa) but may not feel up to driving, offer to take them there. Make sure each parent can spend some quality alone with each other, and make sure both parents are comfortable with the arrangement they need.
If one parent does not wish to drive, or if the parent still in the family home cannot drive, arrange transportation for them – whether it’s a weekly Uber or Lyft ride, a bus pass, or you and your siblings taking turns driving them to their visits. Elderly people need socialization, and this is an important time to make sure they can spend time with their beloved spouses.
Plan And Do Activities Together
Make sure Mom or Dad know how much they mean to you and the rest of the family by spending quality time with them and making sure they have plenty of activities they can still participate in, whether it’s with their spouse or the rest of the family.
Get a plan in place and make sure things are properly arranged so you can help your parents in their time of need.