Once your parents can no longer take care of themselves and you are handed the responsibility to take care of their affairs, you may be unsure of where to start. Taking care of your parents requires a lot of planning and preparation, you may fear you will forget something of importance.
Health Insurance is a crucial part of an aging loved one’s care. People often make assumptions about health insurance without realizing there is more than one type of health insurance and they differ in their coverage. For example, there is a difference between traditional Medicare and a Medicare Advantage Plan. To understand the difference between health insurance plans, we recommend reviewing the explanation in the benefits booklet.
Medicare has its limits and doesn’t pay for assisted living or memory care, so you may have to cover those costs through private pay unless you have long-term care insurance. It also has tightened its coverage on healthcare at home. Talk to a home health company about limitations on coverage so you can make an informed decision about the type of care you want your loved one to receive when the time comes.
It can be hard to manage your parent’s healthcare if you don’t have the power to do so. You can get involved in their care by setting up advance directives. Hand copies of advance directives to all healthcare providers and family members. Making a list of healthcare providers and their contact information can make this easier to manage.
You also should accompany your loved one to their doctor visits because it is common for seniors to misinterpret or not hear information. There may be times when you or another family member can’t attend in person. In this case, ask for an aftercare summary and add yourself to your parent’s patient portal. Their portal will allow you to access healthcare information and get in contact with their doctor.
Keeping track of their medications and diagnosis is important as well since they may not be able to take care of it themselves. You can do this by making a list of all medications they’re currently taking, taking note of any allergies they may have to medications, and recording their medical diagnoses with a summary of what they mean.
The costs of your parent’s care can rack up and if you don’t have a proper handle on their finances, it can negatively affect caretaking decisions. If your parent can’t handle their finances on their own, you can receive help by meeting with an estate planning attorney to discuss possible courses of action such as financial power of attorney or a trust.
Aging in place is a common preference for older adults. Aging in place allows your loved one to live independently while receiving care from home. However, for aging in place to work out, it needs to be safe for them to do so. If your loved one has weak mobility and impaired hearing/vision, home modifications are a must for accessibility. For example, you would remove tripping hazards from the home and change the lighting.
If your loved one decides to age in place, it may be difficult for them to maintain the home with weak mobility. Family members can help take care of housekeeping duties such as changing the lightbulbs and doing laundry. More time-consuming tasks can be hired out. You could hire a home inspector to point out any potential safety hazards (old electrical wiring, etc.) around the home.
Your parent can also receive homecare while they age in place. In-home care includes private caregivers to assist with their tasks of daily living and home health care, an insurance-covered medical service.
If you have discussed with your loved one and decided aging in place is not the right choice for them, there are other living options and types of care!
Assisted Living is suited better for those who need higher-level care that can’t be covered by the family or at home. Assisted living includes nursing care, medication management, transportation, housekeeping, and other services.
Memory Care is for those who have dementia. People with dementia don’t often understand why they’re moving so the transition to the living community can be quite difficult. We suggest taking it slow by making several visits to the community before the move. It will make the process a lot smoother and much easier for them.
If neither option sounds right for your parent, there are several alternatives you can explore. If any of these options are available in your community, discuss with your loved one which living situation would be the best for them.
Preparation and planning are key to handling your new responsibilities as your parent’s primary caretaker. For further information on how you can take care of your aging parents, check out more steps for success by 1+1 Cares.
1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.
1+1 Cares by serving as a family’s caregiving concierge. 1+1 Cares is a unique platform that synergizes premium service, qualified caregivers, and affordable rates. By empowering families to make the right decisions, 1+1 Cares makes in-home care affordable and accessible. 1+1 Cares about you.
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