From the book 'Aging Parents & Common Sense' sponsored by The Equitable Foundation and Children of Aging Parents come practical hints in several areas that children will sometimes find themselves involved in as their parents age. Some may pertain to you, others may not; some are common sense, others may be 'why didn't I think of that?'. I am just offering a few to get you thinking.
*Give your elderly parents a gift of your time. Rather than 'things'. consider giving Dad an afternoon of golf (or whatever HE enjoys) for the 2 of you. Mom and you can have a spa weekend (or whatever SHE would like). Spend time working on projects of any type, for example - helping with financial paperwork, or painting the back fence. No agenda, just enjoy your time together. Mom used to like to go out for lunch -- wish I had done it more!!!
*The illness or death of a friend or relative may be the catalyst for a conversation with your parents about whether their personal affairs are in order. Many people find it useful to collect all personal and financial information in one master binder or file/folder. This can be divided into categories with copies of important papers that are kept elsewhere (possibly a safe deposit box) or any other materials that are useful to have on hand.
*Many newspapers, magazines, and books are published in large print - consider giving these as a gift.
*If you are in the position to help your parents financially, there are a variety of ways to do so. For example - take over some of their ongoing expenses, purchase a home where they can live rent free, give them an annuity, buy a long-term healthcare policy. I would suggest you speak with a financial planner, or accountant, or attorney familiar with these plans to see which may be the best way to go.
*If your parents decide to execute a durable power of attorney, one individual should be named with a second person as successor in case the first person is unable to serve. (Mom had 2 more after me. As we spoke to our attorney, he helped us to do this and we spoke to those involved as well.) It is generally useful to execute more than one copy of the Power of Attorney and provide certified copies to key people, such as the other individuals having the Power of Attorney and your parents doctors, bankers and anyone else you may need to contact. (The other 2 people named for mom had their own copies and I had about 5 copies to keep in case I needed them to hand out.) All the times I took mom to the ER, they asked for healthcare POAs. We had to bring them in each time, they could not keep and oblige by the old ones. Even the pharmacy had a copy so I could talk to the pharmacist.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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