REMEMBER, IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING TO OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE. YOU EITHER PAY THE ATTORNEY OR THE NURSING HOME.
One day your 85 year old mother is fine, healthy and still living on her own. The next day she falls and breaks her hip. As a result, your world can be turned upside down for years to come.
Planning ahead to care for an elderly parent isn’t something many people do. Often, it’s something like a broken hip that begins a family member’s involvement in the parent’s care. But planning ahead for aging parents can and should be done.
The remarkable longevity that’s been achieved this century has come to a price. No longer does the average person live to 50 or 60 and then die a quick death, maybe from a heart attack or a stroke. Nowadays, death typically follows the longer path of a degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s or a lengthy battle with cancer, medical experts say.
Children of aging parents should talk to them about what they need and expect, who they want to make decisions for them if they become incapacitated and what they want done – or not done – about life sustaining measures.
It’s important for all of us, but it’s particularly important for older people.
The children of aging parents also should understand the economics of Medicare. Medicare, a government insurance program begun in the middle 1960’s to provide coverage for acute illnesses, is struggling to adapt to today’s more typical scenario of chronic disease and disability.
The need to understand the limits of the benefits of the Medicare system. Many people don’t know that, until there’s a crisis and they find out that nursing homes aren’t covered for chronic care.
They have to plan ahead for the day when their parents could become chronically impaired with Alzheimer’s disease or a condition that limits their mobility. What kind of resources would they need and how would they develop a program over a number of years? It’s like planning for college but in reverse. Sometimes there are clues that an elderly parent is headed for some serious problems. He or she may be falling a lot or becoming increasingly forgetful or confused. But often families aren’t sure what to do, especially if they don’t live close to their parents.
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