- Step 1: Visit, listen, discuss Visit often and talk with your parents. Address healthcare, financial, and housing issues for when they will require more care than you can provide.
- Step 2: Get support Ask a neighbor or sibling to check on your parents often in your absence. Educate the helper about any medication schedule.
- Step 3: Buy comfortable clothes Buy parents plastic-waist pants, slip on shoes, and other clothing with Velcro closures to make getting dressed easier.
- TIP: Accept that you are becoming a surrogate parent to your own parents, and that it will be hard for all of you.
- Step 4: Prevent burnout Accept help and take breaks from your parents. You need to manage your strength because they rely on your staying healthy.
- Step 5: Take the keys Guide parents to avoid all but necessary driving. If necessary, have the doctor direct them to quit driving, or disable the car.
- Step 6: Safety check their house Inspect the house to confirm smoke alarms and locks work, and that parents keep medical alert buttons on them or within reach at all times.
- TIP: Don’t listen to others’ opinions of your efforts, especially if they come from uninvolved siblings who do not understand your situation.
- Step 7: Educate yourself Educate yourself on senior services and alternative living facilities in the event your parents have to give up their home.
- Step 8: Consult elder care attorney Consult an elder care attorney who can advise on a detailed will and set up power of attorney and advance medical directives. Post these in a prominent place in their home.
- FACT: Recent surveys suggest 22 million U.S. households -- nearly one in four -- are caring for someone 50 or older.
You Will Need
- Comfortable clothes
- A physician
- An elder care attorney