Caring for our aging parents can be a wonderful venture, allowing us to spend more quality time with them – and providing us with an opportunity to give back to the people who gave us their all as we grew up. However, it can also be a very challenging feat. In this guide, we go over a few tips that can help you approach caring for elderly parents.
Be Realistic About How Much Care You Can Provide Yourself
We all want to be there for our parents and provide them with the support and resources they need as they age. However, this care constitutes a significant responsibility. Can you handle it without enlisting help? To answer this question, you must start by examining the help that your parents need. Create three lists: daily, weekly, and monthly care tasks.
This will help you determine how much help your mother or father needs during the day and night, and weekdays vs. weekends. Do they need close supervision? Do they need help with transportation and errands? Only once you understand the scope of how much care is needed can you appropriately prepare. If you find that it’s too much work for you to take on by yourself, here are some options to consider:
- Adult day programs: Your parent can socialize and receive care during the days in adult day programs.
- In-home care: If your parent lives in their own home or yours and needs constant supervision, you can hire in-home caregiver to take some of the responsibility off your shoulders.
- Errand runners: If your aging parent doesn’t need constant supervision but does require help with grocery shopping, medicine pickup, or other daily tasks, errand running services can help.
Create a Financial Plan and Take Advantage of Available Tools
Caring for an older adult can be very costly, and you may find this care places a significant financial burden on your family. Fortunately, there are plenty of financial tools available that may help decrease overall costs and alleviate financial stress. Here are a few ways you might be able to save money when caring for a senior:
- Medicare: If your parents are over the age of 65, they qualify for Medicare. Medicare Part A provides coverage for inpatient care in hospitals, and within hospice care. Meanwhile, Medicare B provides coverage for service from doctors, outpatient care, and certain types of medical equipment.
- Medicaid: If you and your parents have limited income, Medicaid may help. While eligibility qualifications vary by state, if you do qualify, Medicaid can cover expenses for preventive care, doctor visits, and hospital stays.
- FSA: If you have a flexible spending account, the money within it may be used for your parent’s care. A dependent care FSA allows individuals to utilize pretax dollars for any expenses related to a dependent.
- Tax credits: You may qualify for a dependent care tax credit, so be sure to keep that in mind when filing.
Invest in Helpful Technology Designed for Seniors
Modern technology is answering the call for a variety of needs related to aging. For example, if your aging parent struggles with essential tremor, their involuntary shaking may make it difficult for them to hold utensils, write, and perform other basic tasks. A hand tremor device could help reduce their symptoms; this device calibrates to the wearer’s tremor, reducing the involuntary and rhythmic shaking associated with this condition through gentle nerve stimulation. Consider available technologies like these and make investments in those that might take some pressure off your shoulders and help your parents enjoy life more.
Caring for an aging parent is a taxing task but can be very rewarding if you arm yourself with the right resources and support. Keep the above tips in mind and ensure you and your loved ones are happy and healthy.