A few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine and we got on the subject of caring for our parents when they got older. Without hesitation, he said his wife and him would be taking in their parents when it was time. In his culture it is assumed the children will eventually care for the elderly parents.
I admired this about my friend. Although he hasn't had to face the reality of it yet – I'm sure he will follow through with the commitment. I also hope to be able to provide and look after my wife's mother – and mine – when it comes time.
Are you planning on taking care of your parents when they are unable to look after themselves? And what I mean by that is – will you take them into your home and attend to their needs? Or, will you send them to a nursing home?
According to AARP, over 22 million people in America already provide care to someone over 50 years of age in their home. And of those folks – 66% of them work full-time. This can present quite a challenging set of circumstances for all involved.
My grandma lived in a nursing home and my mother faithfully visited and ensured she was getting proper care. When I visited her, I was always a little sad to see some of the people there who had little or no visitors. They looked pretty lonely. Wouldn't they be better off (mentally, spiritually -perhaps even physically) if they lived with family?
Now I realize most people are pretty busy (or the parent is in need of medical care). But, I often think that caring for ones elderly parents should be thought of as an honor – not a chore. I mean, consider the sacrifices they have made on your behalf?
Perhaps I'm old school here. And, there are loads of other concerns to consider here too – including health costs and their own physical/mental needs.
Still – I wonder if our default should be to care for our parents – instead of placing them in a home where we often know little about the goings-on and if proper care is taking place.
I'm interested to know what you are going to do. Are you planning on caring for your parents too?
By the way – here's a few resources I came across while doing some research for this post. I hope it's of benefit to you if you are / have been thinking about this:
- US News and World Report did a step-by-step story on helping you to decide if / when a nursing home might be a good solution for you and your loved one.
- BenefitsCheckup.org can help you to see what benefits your parents might qualify for if you are going the route of caring for an elderly parent.
- Eldercare.gov is a government website that will help you find resources in the community for your aging parent.
- Medicare.gov – another important resource for you and your parents, is now “easy to use”.
- AARP is a great organization that can help with any questions about this topic.