Children Taking Care Of Their Parents!

by Kathy Sykes on October 26, 2009 · 0 comments

It seems like everytime I get into a “meaningful” discussion with a friend or an acquaintance, I find out that we have a lot in common. One of things that I have found to be a common thread nowadays among my friends and acquaintances is the fact that we are taking care of our parents on some level.

Some of us may have our parents living with us, some may be taking care of the bills while still having their parents live independently, some are managing their parents estate while they are being cared for in a nursing home, etc.

The high cost of healthcare coupled with low Medicare reimbursements and close to no savings on our parents part, leaves us with minimal choices when deciding how to care for our parents.

It would be great if we could all move our parents into our homes. But typically, both spouses have jobs and there is no one that could stay home to “watch” our parent if needed. Home health care is very expensive to have on a full-time basis so each family has to come up with it’s own FAMILY PLAN. 

And it can be heartwrenching!

It comes down to having a sit-down conversation with all of the siblings to decide how they would feel comfortable handling Mom and Dad’s care and finances.  It should not be totally left up to one sibling because that can cause a tremendous amount of stress. If you are an only child, then this is the time to reach out to extended family members to help in your challenge to take care of our parents.

What I have found is that it is imperative to also have a sit-down conversation with our parents. As they progress in age, there are things that they may forget to do or just not feel like doing. Bills still need to be paid, medication still needs to be taken, food still needs to be purchased, and houses still need to be cleaned.

We have to work TOGETHER with our parents to find the best solution to make sure these things are getting done but still maintaining some sense of independance on our parents part.

Some ways that I have found to make the load easier:

1. Take over paying your parents bills by using online banking. To streamline this process, have their bills set up on the same schedule as yours and pay at the same time. Automatic withdrawal is another option if you know that the money is always going to be there.

2. When you go to shop for groceries, buy the ten staple items you know that your parents need on a monthly basis (bread, coffee, milk, potatoes, cheese, etc). Also grab toilet paper, garbage bags, soap, and paper towels.  I don’t wait to ask what is needed, I just buy it and drop it off.

3. Check the prescription bottles for the last date of refill. This way you know if your parents are remebering to refill and take their medications on a regular basis without coming right out and asking them.

4. Survey the house for cleanliness when you go over to visit.

5. Make a phone call everyday to your parents to just check in.

6. PRAY (although I am listing it last, this should be the first thing we do)

Do we have an obligation to make sure our parents are taken care of? My answer is YES.

Should it be a burden on you as the child or bring disruption to your daily life? My answer is NO.

There are ways of managing your life and your parents life while still maintaining an independence for both parties. It takes time to find the right “groove” for your family, but it is worth taking the journey. 

Don’t be afraid to open up to other people about what is going on in your family. You will be surprise how many others are in your same boat and may have suggestions and solutions that would be a RIGHT FIT for you.

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