Tips For Children Caring For Aging Parents

Caring for elderly parents is a challenge for many area families. Our New York elder law estate planning lawyers understand the complex mix of issues faced by seniors who need help with day-to-day activities but want to keep their independence. Adult children often struggle to strike the right balance between helping out and allowing a loved one to maintain their preferred lifestyle.

This morning Time’s “Moneyland” blog shared tips for families navigating this time in life. The author is currently helping his mother deal with dementia. He notes that preparation is essential. The problems associated with aging do not come instantaneously; most seniors only gradually need help with certain activities. It is helpful to plan for future aid at the first signs of struggle. Proper preparation includes a variety of things like ensuring wills or trusts are drafted, learning about your parent’s financial situation, obtaining lists of important password information, and similar tasks. Handling these estate planning issues while parents are still relatively healthy may save a lot of trouble down the road.

Families with multiple siblings must ensure that specific roles are defined and the workload is shared. It is not uncommon for one adult child to feel like they are doing all the work in caring for a parent. Harmony is most likely to reign when each individual contributes in a way that matches their strengths. One child may be good at doing routine chores around the house while another may be best at handling medical and legal issues. Fewer disputes arise when responsibilities are identified ahead of time.

The author explains that communication is perhaps the most important part of the process. Family dynamics are often turned on their head when siblings must band together to help their parents. This reversal of traditional family roles can be destructive if family members do not work together. Sharing concerns, frustrations, and worries keeps everyone on the same page and prevents the situation from festering.

Caring for aging parents is a challenge. However, resources are available to help with this process and ease some of the fear and uncertainty. A New York elder law attorney can explain relevant legal issues. Mental health professionals, such as geriatric care managers, can reveal long-term effects of certain heath conditions. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers website may be a helpful starting point for many of these issues. In addition, city, county, and state agencies exist to share information and provide resources to families. It is important not to go it alone.

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