Aging Parents: What happens next?

So many families are exhausting all of their resources trying to care for an aging parent while caring for their own family. I personally spoke to three families today who are at odds at with “what happens next?” The parent is fearful that their future will be decided in some haphazard way, all while the children want to act in good faith to help them but don’t know what resources are available. We have so many resources available to families to help them come together and develop a working plan that honors their parent’s wishes. I have never met a person who has told me their dream is to spend their last years in a nursing home. Unfortunately that is the reality of many. So many take the time to write up their will, designate a POA, draft up Living Wills, but do not take the time to think about “what happens if I need help with caring for myself?”. When someone is taken to a nursing home it’s typically because a crisis has happened and it seems as placement is the only solution. That is far from the truth. Research indicates that people thrive best in their own homes. There are resources available to help both the senior and their family members receive care in the home or in a home like environment. Unfortunately most have no idea as to what resources are available, or if anyone in the family would be willing to assist in any way.

Additionally, family members harbor guilt about their mom or dad having to be institutionalized. This guilt manifests itself in so many ways. Some become engulfed by guilt whereas others may remove themselves from the situation entirely.

The ending years of a parent’s life should be a time when siblings come together, not further apart. Even if you don’t live in the same geographic region there are still options available to help an ailing parent. Both parents and surviving children will have peace of mind if they come together and honor mom or dad’s wishes. It’s an investment of both time and money, but the end result and the peace of mind is priceless.