08 May Mother’s Day Special Edition
By Shannon Daniel, Medicaid Specialist
With Mother’s Day just past us, many have made a trip to “Momma and Daddy’s” to spend the day loving on the woman that raised them. Due to the quarantine, many families have not seen one another since Christmas, and 6 months can make a huge difference in an aging parent’s health. You may have found that Momma just doesn’t look so good right now, or that Daddy has more trouble getting up from his chair. Little things that don’t sit right with your heart because suddenly you can see your parents becoming frailer and in need of assistance in ways that you had not imagined.
How do you honor your parents during this stage of life? How do you respect their right to privacy, and at the same time, ensure they are not in harm’s way? Most of us are not ready for this moment in life and we simply push it out of our minds believing our parents are invincible. After all they raised us and in a lot of cases are still giving us advice on how to handle life. But here we are in new territory… suddenly the one who taught us how to be independent, self-sustaining adults, can no longer live independently themselves.
Many families will simply move their aging parents in with them. However, this is not an option for everyone. Some will look to Sitter Services to assist their parents at home while others will look for placement into Assisted Living Facilities where Professional help is available.
Some families will do nothing at all. They feel that their parents can and should be able to take care of themselves and until someone ends up in the hospital with a broken hip, they just will not get involved. Mom and Dad are private people, and so as respectful children, they will not bring up the topic of aging with their parents. There is no life care planning documents in place in case of an emergency, and no estate planning has been done.
Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when speaking of forest fires. In many ways, the saying fits when dealing with aging parents. If you try to avoid the painful conversations and do not properly plan, a small issue can rapidly grow out of control. You may find yourself spending thousands in legal fees and court costs just so you can help your parents handle their finances and healthcare needs. Plan ahead and don’t get caught off guard.
What’s the right solution?
While there is no “cookie-cutter” remedy to dealing with aging parents, there are a few things you can do now to avoid panic mode if a crisis should occur. For example, talk to your parents and make sure they have a current Power of Attorney for healthcare and finances. If you find out their documents are over 10 years old, call our office and schedule an appointment to have the documents reviewed and possibly updated. If you find out that your parents do not have any documents, call our office, and schedule an appointment for a new set of documents. But most importantly, TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONES!!! Open the lines of communication concerning your role in assisting your parents.