It’s a motto that’s served the boy scouts well over the years, and as you age it should become your mantra as well. As your loved ones age, take time to prepare and the transition from middle age to the later years will be happier.
There are three basic areas that you need to discuss with your aging loved ones: Finances/Legal Issues, Health and Living Arrangements.
Though it’s sometimes considered impolite to discuss finances, if you have an aging loved on, it’s imperative. Sit down with your family members and make a list of all the financial accounts they hold and the amount of assets they hold. If possible, consider consolidating the accounts for simple use. You could also make bill paying easier by setting up online accounts for relatives that don’t have them, and teaching them how to monitor their finances via the internet. Finally, you may want to meet with a financial advisor or accountant to discuss your loved one’s finances and how they can maintain their lifestyle post retirement.
If your loved one suffers from a mental impairment or the onset of dementia, it is advisable to discuss power of attorney. It is especially important to work with your loved ones to make sure that you honor their wishes. It can be an uncomfortable talk to have, but make sure that your loved one has outlined what financial and medical decisions they would like made, should they be incapacitated. Visit an attorney to discuss legal options and finalize a will, or learn the basics here.
You have to rely upon more than just an apple a day as your loved one ages. Get a full medical workup and discuss with doctors any possible health problems that your loved ones might encounter. Be sure that you have an up to date list of medications and help coordinate appointments when necessary.
It may also be time to reevaluate health care plans and make sure that your loved one is on a plan that will benefit them the most as they age.
Take a look at your loved one’s house. Is it safe for an aging person? Are there lots of stairs? Narrow doors or hallways that might make walker/wheelchair access difficult? Discuss with your loved ones whether or not they are committed to “aging in place”. If so, consider consulting a contractor to get an estimate on what needs to be done to their home.
Since studies have shown seniors thrive in a social environment, it may be beneficial to suggest a residential living facility to them. Look at full service communities, such as The Cottage at Curry Manor, that will offer your loved one a wide range of activities to keep them stimulated and engaged throughout the day.
At Capital City Nurses, we know that successful caregiving and aging are both linked to preparation. If you take steps to organize your loved one’s lives as they age, you’ll find that growing older is more enjoyable for everyone in the family.