As the global population is aging, the number of people who take care of their elder parents will be increasing. Providing adequate care and emotional as well as financial support for them can be quite overwhelming and pose many challenges along the way. Aged care doesn’t come cheap, so it’s imperative you do the research and make the necessary preparations in time.
Here’s an overview of the most essential aspects you should consider when becoming someone’s primary caregiver.
Communicate With Your Parents
Over 90% of aging parents would prefer to stay in their home rather than in a nursing home facility so it’s imperative you have open and honest communication with them to see which options are viable and which aren’t. If your parents’ health is failing them and they can’t do many of the things they were once able to, it might be time to consider getting professional aged care. If they’re reluctant to accept it, then talking about it, reading the brochures and even visiting those places can help them get a clearer idea of the benefits that option can give them.
Most reputable aged care facilities offer excellent medical care, social support, wellness and fitness opportunities, freedom to create one’s meals and room décor, and many more. Choosing to stay at home means that the whole family, relatives, friends and even neighbours will have to get involved, and as much as caregiving has its rewards, it can quickly become a full-time commitment and a burden.
Take Care Of The Legal Aspect
Another important aspect to consider is getting your parents’ finances and legal documentation in order while they’re still able to make clear decisions. You never know how much time is left before they lose their cognitive abilities and risking losing all assets, including the children’s inheritance, will be heartbreaking for all parties involved.
Firstly, arrange for the power of attorney. This means that the designated caregiver or the agent will make all financial, legal and health decisions regarding the aged parent when they become unable to do it themselves.
Secondly, include a gifting clause. This is important as it means that the agent will not be permitted to transfer any money or assets to themselves unless they have it specified in the POA document. This applies to cases of life estates when the parents have gifted their home to their children, but still live there, and their home cannot be taken by the authorities and used to cover the medical expenses.
Finally, consider getting long-term care insurance that is very helpful in paying for health care services. However, early planning is crucial here as the best rates are available while the person is still in good health.
Research Available Financial Aid
Even though caring for an elderly parent can get quite costly, there are resources you can rely on for financial aid. About 1.3 million senior Australians benefit from aged care funding, where 70% is towards residential care and 30% are assisted in their own homes.
Depending on where you live, research what government programmes are there for funding senior care costs and what your parents might be eligible for.
Making sure your aging parents receive the best possible care is a demanding task, so make sure you prepare yourself both emotionally and financially for all the challenges it brings.