Watching a parent go through the physical and mental deterioration that goes along with aging can be hard for an adult child. You want to do something to help but knowing what to do and how to do it can be challenging because you also do not want your parent to feel as though you are taking away his/her independence. The Bellevue elder law attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC offer 10 ways in which you can help your aging parents.
- Anticipate denial. Your aging parent may not be ready to face the fact that he/she is aging, making denial a common hurdle to offering help. Gently remind your parent that now is the time to accomplish things that are important to him/her.
- Realize that your parent may not ask for help. If your parent has managed to get through life without much help up to this point, the idea of asking for help, especially from a child, probably does not sit well with him/her. Find ways to offer that help that allows your parent to retain his/her dignity and independence when possible.
- Understand that money is a likely concern. No matter how financially secure your parents may appear to be, they are money is still a likely concern. Most people entering their retirement years worry because their ability to earn money is dramatically diminished and the future is full of unknown variables that could negatively impact their financial stability.
- Remember that victims of elder abuse often remain silent. Experts estimate that as many as 14 instances of elder abuse go unreported for every one that is reported. Talk to your parents about elder abuse to try and prevent them from becoming a victim and encourage them to speak up if something happens.
- Keep in mind that your parent’s memory may be failing. Even if your parents never develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the natural aging process causes problems with memory. Keep that in mind and adjust your approach to conversations accordingly.
- Avoid discussing death. Some people prefer to confront the reality of death head on and have no problem discussing their eventual death; however, others are frightened and are not ready for death. If you must discuss the topic, try using a term other than “death” and tread carefully.
- Be patient. Above all else, remember to have patience with your parents as they age. Remember, they probably needed a considerable amount of patience with you when you went through your teenage and young adult years so return the favor.
- Know that technology may be intimidating for them. Technology is everywhere in the 21st century and it can be very intimidating for seniors. It can also be a tool used by predators and scammers. Give your parents some basic tech tools to use and explain internet security to them.
- Check eligibility for state/federal benefits. Many seniors know very little about the various state and federal benefits to which they may be entitled because they never needed those benefits when they were younger. Now, however, they may qualify for assistance from programs such as SNAP (Food Stamps) and Medicaid. They may also be eligible for additional help from programs such as the Veterans Aid & Attendance if one of them served in the military.
- Help plan for long-term care. When your parents enter their retirement years, they will each already stand a 50 percent chance of eventually needing long-term care (LTC). Educate yourself about the cost of that care, options for paying for LTC (such as by qualifying for Medicaid), and what facilities in the area have a good reputation. Doing so will make talking about the options much easier if the time comes when LTC is needed.
Contact Bellevue Elder Law Attorneys
If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact the experienced Bellevue elder law attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC by calling (425) 455-6788 to schedule an appointment.