When friends of about the same age come together they tend to talk about common concerns. If they are in their late fifties, it’s very likely at some point the conversation will turn to the care of elderly parents.
A recent survey by AARP found that 9 out of 10 seniors want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. That’s not surprising; we all find comfort in familiar surroundings. Unless your parents are the exception rather than the rule, this is a good starting point for creating a meaningful care plan.
Consider the kind and level of support your parents will need to successfully live in their own home as they age. This might include assistance with lawn care, home maintenance, or housekeeping. It’s also wise to think about what additional care might be needed if one or both parents were incapacitated by illness or injury. Who would do the shopping, prepare meals, or provide transportation to doctor appointments?
Family is always the best source of support. However, in our highly mobile society it’s not unusual for children and parents to live in different states, a fact that makes availability a real issue. If that’s the case, you probably need to consider other support options such as family friends, neighbors, and your parent’s faith community. Professional in-home care might also be an option.
It’s human nature to put off hard decisions for as long as possible. When it comes to parental care, having a plan your family has agree to is far better than allowing circumstances to force those decisions on you. And the consequences are easier to live with.