Kristie Janeway Jernigan, Contributing writer
Aging is inevitable for the human race. However, aging is also a difficult time for the elderly and their families because there are some worries and even loses that go along with it. The elderly want to be as independent for as long as possible.
Sometimes, however, that can be very difficult. As we age we tend to be more prone to falls, injuries and illness. Having safeguards in the home can prevent some of this such as picking up throw rugs, use of safety technology (such as Lifeline) or proper medication management. There will come a time, though, when it is no longer safe for the elderly person to remain at home by themselves. This is the point and time when you will need and want a plan to make decisions by.
Having discussions about difficult topics is not an easy one. But, it is important to discuss these issues long before they happen. Many times we wait until the problem occurs before discussing possible resolutions.
To prevent this you must make time to sit down with your aging parent and discuss issues such as:
1. What the plan will be if the parent should become unable to stay by themselves.
2. What the parent's financial situation is. Will there be money to pay for extra assistance if needed?
3. What nursing homes or assisted living facilities the aging parent prefers (you may even want to go view these facilities together).
4. You need to complete a power of attorney and living will.
5. What the aging parent's wishes would be if they are unable to make decisions about their health care.
If additional family support is needed with grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions then you will want to make a plan for this. For example, making plans to go grocery shopping on a particular day every week will help a lot.
Planning not only gives a piece of mind to the aging person who depends on others but it also provides a schedule for the working child. You may also want to consider having a safety device like Lifeline installed in case the parent falls or becomes ill and cannot call for help.
You may also want to have safety precautions in place such as having the bathroom handicapped or having a relative or neighbor check in on a regular basis. Lifeline services can also add a piece of mind to the elderly individual and the family.
The process of discussing issues like these is not easy but it does need to be done. The alternative of fumbling through a plan when you have no idea what to do is not a pleasant one. You will be very overwhelmed with many other emotions and worries and having this plan in place can be very comforting.