Did you enjoy visiting your parents over the holidays? Does it seem that time passes quickly and your parents seem older and more frail each passing year? Are you ready for what may face them in the future? Ability to age-in-place, drive on their own, maybe even a nursing home? Have you considered talking about the potential for your parents to need long-term care? This may be a tough conversation. However, it is important for you and your parents to have a conversation about their wishes for now and in the future and what you may be able to do to help them. The following are seven tips to include in your discussion with your parents for evaluating their potential long-term care needs.
Overall health. Have your parents had any new medical diagnoses or issues in the past year? Are they consulting with their physician about a medical issue that could develop into something more serious? Are they taking the medications they need each day? Is their medicine cabinet orderly and are their medicines up-to-date?
Mental capacity. As we age, it can be normal for memory to change. But, if your parents are forgetting information about their daily routine, it could be a sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Even if the forgetfulness is just a sign of aging rather than severe enough to warrant an official diagnosis, if it extends to forgetting to take necessary medication, this can be a sign that they need long-term care assistance.
Neat and tidy. Have your parents always been neat and tidy? Are you now noticing piles of papers stacked up by the walls and on the kitchen table? It may be time to talk about getting them some help to organize on a daily or weekly basis.
Cleanliness. Do your parents seem to have an inability to keep up with housekeeping, such as significant dirt, dust, or spoiled food? There may need to be a need for housekeeping assistance. It also might be a sign of dementia and require you to look into long-term care.
Widowhood. If one of your parents recently passed, leaving the other to live alone for the first time in many years, it is important to check up on how he or she is feeling. Also ask whether he or she feels able to manage a household by himself or herself.
Lack of socialization. If your normally active parent is spending a lot less time out of the house, this may be cause for concern. You can help by looking into local activities at a senior center, house of worship, or the library. If your parent does not feel able to initiate social interaction, finding a companion may be another option.
Still driving? Have vision and spatial issues become too much and impaired the ability of your parents to drive safely? It may be time to sit down and talk to them about alternatives, like finding a driver or looking into other assistance.
If your parents are ready to put long-term care plans in place, our office is available to assist with this and related legal issues. Please contact us to schedule a meeting time.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.