Caring for elderly parents- I can honestly say that I never thought I would have much knowledge to share about this..but things change when you least expect it!
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mom recently-she’s almost 90 and suffers from moderate dementia. We are fortunate that she is financially able to currently live in an assisted living facility (read my blog post about Long Term Care policies), however my siblings and I are responsible for overseeing all of her care. It’s a daily part of our lives which includes taking care of her finances, buying anything that she needs, having ongoing conversations with the nurses, OTs and PTs that work with her, taking her to all doctor’s appointments, confirming that aides are scheduled when needed, checking in with her daily, visiting her as often as possible and reassuring her that she is at “home” and doing fine.
Recently, we have added new responsibilities to this list: checking out memory care facilities for when the time comes to move her, completing applications for waiting lists and talking to geriatric care managers who may help us as we continue this journey with my mom. Her recent hospital stay just moved all of these new tasks front and center in our lives.
We also realize that once her Long Term Care policy reaches it’s limits, we will quickly go through my mom’s assets as her monthly care costs continue to increase. And once we deplete her assets, Medicaid will only provide care for her in a nursing home type setting-which is not the environment we would want her to spend her final days. It’s frustrating that the options are so limited when we are all living longer. (Who knows if Medicare will even be around when we are at that age??)
It’s a lot for all of us to handle-and yet we gladly do it . My mom is very grateful and seems to understand how much we are doing for her, although she wishes it were different. However, I can honestly say that I could never have foreseen this becoming such a big part of my life up until the past few years. It’s emotionally exhausting as well as a bit overwhelming at times..
And so, my siblings and I are preparing as best we can for my mom’s future needs now-and I encourage you to do the same.
My message to all midlife women who have elderly parents is this: try to be prepared as best you can as to how you and your siblings will help care for your elderly parents when and if they need it. Do your parents have the finances in place to pay for in home care or assisted living? If not, then what is your plan to help them? Is it an option to move them in with you? Do you sell their house to free up some money to pay for their care? Is Medicaid facilities your only option? These are questions you and your siblings should discuss -be proactive so that you don’t end up having to be reactive if and when the time comes.
I know that others have it far worse than we do-Here’s an article that speaks to how two women have had to deal with this exact situation in their lives-it’s somewhat daunting how their lives have changed.