You may just have waved them off on their retirement cruise or winter sun holiday, but sooner or later your parents are going to cease to be able to look after themselves. Now is a good time to look at the options and have a chat with them about what their preferences for care would be. You should also take time to think about how their care will impact on you.
Will you look after them?
Do you see yourself as stepping into the role of carer? It might seem like a good choice – your parents get somewhere to live and to see their grandchildren growing up but it can be emotionally draining. If the thought of cleaning up vomit or changing adult nappies is unappealing, consider whether you could do that for your own parents.
Could someone else?
If your parents would prefer to stay in their own home then one possibility is to arrange for a home care services to offer assistance. If, or perhaps we should say when, their health declines a live in care assistant will provide help with basic housework and meal preparation as well as tending to your parent’s care needs such as dressing and bathing. It can be a cost-effective way of providing care if both of your parents need help and it can allow them to keep their pets.
What about a care home?
Depending on who you ask between 40% and 60% of care home residents get no visitors. And whilst some of those residents have simply outlived their friends and family an awful lot of them have no visitors because their families fail to make time to visit them. And whilst you probably have the best of intentions there’s a good chance that you, like countless other families before you, will simply find time slipping by once your parents are “out of sight and out of mind”. Is that the future you want for your parents?
Or assisted living?
Whilst your parents have some degree of independence they may be interested in moving into some form of assisted living (retirement flats, sheltered housing or similar). There, they will have their own flat – some even have two or three bedrooms so they can have family to stay – but there will be carers on hand to provide assistance with daily chores. There may also be communal facilities such as restaurants for when cooking is too difficult or social activities.
Are you worried about finances?
Part of researching elderly care options whilst your parents are still fit and healthy means that you can put financial planning into place so that whatever they decide it can be afforded. Care homes and residential carers can actually be surprisingly similar in cost and it is important to consider all the implications that a move might have on your parents mental, as well as physical health. Taking time to plan now could save a lot of heartache in the future.