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Caring for an Aging Parent

Planning Ahead Means Loving Care for an Aging Parent

Did you know that more than 30 million U.S. households are currently caring for an adult age 50 or older? This number is only going to rise in the future as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age. Adult caregiving is a reality that many of us will face.

Taking responsibility for an aging parent can be complicated by the fact that it changes the nature of the parent-child relationship in a way that may be uncomfortable for both parties. Caregiving can also generate financial costs, either in missed income or unplanned-for expenses.

“As the nation grows older, the need for caregiving will be as common as the need for child care.” – American Association of Retired Persons

Planning ahead is key to minimizing the difficulties associated with caring for aging parents. The American Association of Retired Persons recommends the following five-step approach:

  • Prepare to talk. Broach the subject of transferring adult responsibility from parent to child. Decisions should reflect the awareness and consent of the cared-for adult, as well as the caregiver. 
  • Form your team. Caregiving is a family affair. Be sure that every loved one has an active part to play. Try to evenly distribute the responsibilities. 
  • Assess needs. Make an inventory of your parent’s potential needs – personal, financial, medical, and psychological – and then determine ways to address them. 
  • Make a plan. Once you’ve formed your team and assessed potential needs, create a plan for meeting those needs.
  • Take action. Put the plan into practice. 

Be sure to include healthcare providers in your planning process. Medical caregivers can be valuable partners as you work to make a loved one’s final years good ones.

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