How to Prepare Your Parents for Old Age

So much is written these days about people in their 40’s and 50’s caring for aging parents.  People in this age group often spend a couple of decades raising kids, then go straight to caring for their elderly parents.  Depending on how prepared your parent or parents are for getting older, caring for them can be easy, or it can be more on the difficult side.  Here are some ideas to help make caring for aging parents less stressful: 

Make Sure They’ve Got a Plan for End of Life

Although it’s not always fun, it’s a huge stress reducer to make sure your parents have all of their end of life plans in place.  Talk with your parents and help them find the connections they need to have to get all plans in place.  Make sure they have a will/living will.  Consult lawyers in your area for prices and options to consider.  Make sure funeral arrangements are all in place, from everything starting to where they want to be buried to which songs they want played at their service, and make sure that everything is paid for in advance if possible. Check out these funeral plans for ideas on how to cover every aspect of their end of life wishes.  Visit nursing homes and assisted care facilities now, instead of waiting to research these options when you have to pick quickly due to a sudden medical emergency.

Sort and Purge Now

The last thing you want to be doing when your elderly parents pass on or go into a nursing home is to add more stress to those events by having to go through and sort and purge all of their belongings.  Do this now with their help and input if possible, while your parents are still healthy and self-reliant, so that stuff is given away, handed down, or thrown away in advance, making the sorting out of stuff less stressful later on.  The less clutter that’s hanging around the house, the easier a move to a nursing home or retirement community will be.

Be Supportive

These types of discussions and changes are not often easy, either for parents or their children.  Do your best to have a positive attitude and approach these types of changes and discussions gently and lovingly.  It may take some work to convince your parents that they need to consider moving to an assisted living facility, or that they need to de-clutter their homes.  There are often lots of emotions and wonderful memories associated with each and every area of their home and each “treasure” they’ve accumulated over the years.   Your parents might not be ready to move or make end of life plans, and it might be some months between when you first bring it up and when they are actually ready to make the transition or put plans in place.  Try not to pressure them if there are no safety concerns, and give them a few weeks or months to digest the idea that things are changing.

Caring for your aging parents can be a lot of work and a lot of stress, but with careful planning, you can make it easier.

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