Retirement

5 Things You Need to Know About Caring For Your Parents

Stasie Tillman
Written by Stasie Tillman

I remember four years ago when my mother was diagnosed with dementia. There was this mountain of responsibilities that had now shifted to my shoulders. An unfortunate truth about getting older is all the added responsibilities. I tell my kids all the time to, “Stop rushing to grow up, and enjoy your youth.” Why? Because all that awaits are the bills and headaches of adulting. One of those major responsibilities that many never quite plan for is that of caring for your aged or disabled parents. In fact, 15% of adults between the ages of 40 – 50 are responsible for taking care of their children as well as their elderly parents, with a total of 46% that have kids and retirement age parents they expect to have to care for soon.

Where do you start with such a sensitive and vast subject? Sensitive because it requires acknowledging the reversal of roles that were thought to be cemented. The child now takes care of the parent, and in essence the parent has to submit or acquiesce to their child.

There’s no easy way about it, but you can save yourself some unnecessary headaches by doing your research & being prepared. Start here with this list of insights and resources to assist you in providing the care your parent needs.

Research & Resources

Dealing with my mother’s diagnosis left me stressed, overwhelmed, and a bit resentful to say the least. Her doctor’s had restricted her from driving on her own, which she managed to take in stride. My mother was already living in an apartment complex for seniors, and they helped me a great deal throughout her transition. I’m so grateful they provided weekly social worker check-ins and other resources to educate and keep the seniors active.

If you find yourself at this stage, not knowing what to do next, breathe easy. There are numerous resources available that are invaluable to allowing a smooth transition and easy eldercare management.

Before you think dollar signs, start with the free resources. They may be all you need. Here are a few:

Internet Research

Start with the Social Security & Medicare websites

  • If your parent is on either, there are additional services they may be entitled to receive for free.

Town or City government website

  • Elder care services are listed separately and can point you to facilities and elder care management workers to assist you.

About the author

Stasie Tillman

Stasie Tillman

Stasie Tillman is a writer & an investment and personal finance analyst. She oversaw the Analytics department for a prominent Long Island, New York brokerage firm for many years. She’s on a quest to
live a balanced life in all aspects (mind, body, and spirit). Come be encouraged and find inspiration to live A Stoic Life.

3 Comments

  • Once mom got to the point where she was going to have to be cared for in a home 24/7 because we had no wheelchair access for her in our home, we sought advice from an eldercare attorney.

    We were able to buy a new big screen TV for her to enjoy in the room, along with a nice oak clothes closet to store new clothes in, and two new recliners for her to get comfortable in. The attorney said it was legal to spend money for moms needs even though she was in a Medicaid room and was only allowed to keep $25 a month from her S/S checks. It was very difficult to have mom in the home, but having the ability to fix up her room and visit every day made it easier for me to endure. Eventually, mom enjoyed playing games and socializing with others her age. They even had an in house hair dresser she saw every Friday.

    One final note: it appeared at one point mom was going to be forced out of the new home she loved because of changes to the maximum S/S income she could receive. We were able to get around that issue because the doctors and nurses said she was incontinent.

    My advice, get a good elder care attorney and build a lasting relationship with the doctor who attends the assisted living or nursing home facility you will be using. Also, find out who the health care advocate is for your area and contact them ahead of time

    • Thanks Gary. You’re right! It’s very important to get the legal and health care advocates on board early for all your parents’ elder care needs. They are best able to advise you on things and situations you may not know about.

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