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Your parents have given you everything they can throughout your life. When they reach the winter of their lives they need you almost as much as you needed them when you were younger. This is going to cost you money but you can assist your elderly parents without burning through your funds.
You need to address the issue of aging with your parents and this can prove to be a sensitive topic. Discussing aging is akin to discussing their mortality and this is no fun for anyone involved. If you’re able to, have the conversation early on so you can ascertain what they would prefer as they get older. You can ease into the conversation by bringing up your own plans or estate plans, or even your, will to garner an idea of what theirs looks like or reference an article you’ve read about why you should talk about this difficult part of life. An outsider’s influence will be easier for them to stomach then you bring it up out of the blue. Once your parents have retired you could begin discussing with them how they envision themselves growing older gracefully. Once you have an idea in mind you can begin making small changes and saving a little bit of money for the bigger picture after their retirement.
Get their perspective
Growing older gracefully is a life goal but not always easy. With old age come physical and mental challenges, and sometimes even illness. You need to find out how your parents perceive themselves and their abilities. A good time to have this chat is the next time they visit the doctor as you’ll of course want to know the diagnosis. But what’s also important is the prognosis and then tackling what their future health concerns may or may not be. Be warned, in all these chats,you have to expect your folks to want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Moving is stressful for everyone but moving from a family house into a flat or cottage (or worse a room in an old age home) can really negatively affect your parents. Especially as they get rid of so much of their things in order to fit into the new, smaller space.
The right kind of help can be found if you do a bit of research. You need to determine the type of care your elderly parents need. They might struggle to be mobile but are completely coherent and they know what they want or they might suffer with the likes of Alzheimer’s or Dementia but are still mobile. If they have a chronic illness that needs to be monitored you must account for this too. There are companies who cater for the elderly’s needs in a non-invasive and accommodating way. You don’t need to immediately find a live-in nurse. In fact, they can stay in their own homes and function normally with the help of a few organisations and community projects. You should find out about services that deliver meals every evening or at lunch and dinnertime, especially for senior citizens. This service assists those who can no longer cook and those who live alone and find cooking for themselves tedious. Also, the staff will act as a daily “check in” and interaction with their patrons. You can also consider contacting your family doctor who can send the monthly prescriptions to a pharmacy that offers a delivery service.
If you do eventually have to find a home carer then start early and take your time in finding the right person for the job. There are a number of agencies around who will place home carers who are suitable for your parent’s needs. You can also choose for them to simply help your folks on a daily basis as opposed to a full-time live-in carer. This also means that the carer doesn’t pitch up at eight in the morning and leave at five in the evening but rather arrives to assist with specific outings and activities. This option is effective and less costly than a full-time carer.
Medical aid is a biggie
Make sure you check out the variety of health insurance plans and find the one best suited to your elderly folks. Medical aid is important for everyone. As we grow older our bodies can bend and break. Things like stress, bad lifestyle habits and even pollution can hurt us and make us ill. And when our bodies are a little over the hill we need more help than ever. Medical aid also costs a fortune. There’s no way of getting around it but you can shop around to find a health insurance plan that will suit your or your parent’s budget. Even if you look at the idea of a hospital plan which essentially only covers treatments that take place in hospital, some cover chronic care medication too. A saving on monthly medication can do wonders to boost expendable income. Some cover the cost of two or three visits to a specialist too. So when you’re looking at having cataracts removed the procedure and ophthalmologist’s fee will be sorted out without you having to reach for your wallet.
It is important to be hypervigilant about the expenses involved in your parent’s needs as they age. Many adults find themselves online late at night working on personal loans calculators trying to find a way to pay for their elderly parents. Don’t let this be you when the time comes. Prepare now and understand the implications early on so that you won’t land in debt.