3 Tips for Aging Parents Concerned About Health

If you are a parent, you may worry about burdening your adult children with your care as you grow older.

Even if your family is happy living in multi-generational households, if you become seriously ill, caregiving can become an overwhelming responsibility, particularly if your grandchildren are still minors and your children are working hard at their careers and trying to save for both their own retirement and their children’s college education.

However, there are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of this burden.

Manage Your Own Health

No action or set of actions can guarantee a clean bill of health, but there may be things you can do to stay physically healthy for as long as possible. Your doctor may have specific recommendations, but these will probably include remaining physically active, eating nutritious food, and taking steps to ensure you are cognitively active as well.

You don’t have to become a senior athlete, but making sure that you are still able to function around the house and do tasks such as cleaning and cooking can help you remain independent. Some gyms offer exercise classes that are specifically designed for older adults.

Take Legal Steps

If you have not already done so, you may want to think about what will happen if you are incapacitated, even temporarily.

Is there one family member with who you would prefer to make medical decisions for you? If so, you can create paperwork, such as a health care power of attorney, that appoints this person. You may also want to discuss this preference with your doctor.

You can make sure that both your regular doctor and your family know what kind of health care you prefer, and you can put this in writing as well. You may also want to research filial responsibility laws in your state.

These are laws that can compel children to be financially responsible for their parents if their parents cannot support themselves. You can review a guide on these laws to get a better understanding of whether they are relevant to your own situation.

Make Plans

Talking with your children and making plans ahead of time is one way to relieve some of the burden on them. For some families, moving in with your children is a feasible solution, but for others, this might not work.

You could investigate assisted living situations and see if there is one nearby that you would be willing to move to if you had to. These often come with different levels of assistance with care. You could also consider other solutions that you may need in the long or short term.

What if you needed a home health aide? What if you need round-the-clock care? Do you have long-term care insurance, and what does it cover? Another thing to think about is what assets you have and the rules for Medicaid.

Getting older does not necessarily mean that poor health and needing this assistance is inevitable, but preparing for the possibility ahead of time can remove some of the worries from you and your children.