1. Getting Old is Financially Scary
No matter how much money you have, thinking about expenses associated with aging can be extremely scary. Do you have enough insurance or savings to pay for long term care or a terminal illness such as cancer? If you need some assistance with planning your retirement, talk to a qualified professional to make sure you have the funds you need to retire no matter what the expense.
2. Changes in Life is Hard
As we age, it is difficult to give up our independence. Whether it is moving to a Care Community, losing the ability to drive, or having to budget. Taking small steps with a goal in mind can be very helpful. Write down every step needed and cross them off as goals are met. This can make it easier to complete each step and create a sense of accomplishment.
3. Aging Parents are often in Denial
Adjusting to issues caused by aging can cause a lapse of judgment including denial. Thinking about possible illness, moving, finances and mortality can be overwhelming. To an aging parent, they may think they have many years ahead of them to complete goals, spend time with children and grandchildren and plan for long term care. To help get through this denial, help your parents reach their goals of possibly traveling, early retirement, buying a vacation home, etc. Early planning will ensure their needs, wants and desires are fulfilled without interference from family or the Government.
4. Asking for Help can be Overwhelming
It’s often hard for parents to ask for help or even admit they need it. Focus on paying attention to the aging parent, most needs can simply be observed. Do they struggle at certain tasks? Is there something you can do to help the aging parent without them asking? Can asking indirect questions lead to an answer? Assisting your aging parent as they lose one freedom to the next can be hard, they may not see the new-adjusted lifestyle is a good one. But helping them put it into perspective by showing them how much they are cared for and how you are concerned for their health and safety will help.
5. Aging Parents may not Remember Everything
Memory starts to diminish as we age. Playing simple games or doing crossword puzzles can help keep their mind sharp.
6. Patience is Key
Transitioning into new phases of life can be hard. Please be patient with your aging parents. Remember they were patient with you when you when learning to walk, talk, do your laundry and so much more.
7. Don’t Talk about Death
This is a sensitive issue. Many times aging parents feel shock when hearing or even thinking about their own death even if they have come to terms with it. Instead of using the word death, use gentler words such as passing or parting.
8. There are Public Benefits Available
Many families and aging parents are not aware of resources and help available from Senior Community Centers, Senior Services Department, Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Look into these services as many are free.
9. Plan for the Worst – Hope for the Best
When planning for retirement, gracefully plan for worst case scenarios such as needing an estate plan, power of attorney or financing for long term care from a facility or a family member. Planning early can help relive possible stresses which may happen.
10. Being Social
Losing a spouse or loved one, freedoms or coping with financial issues can isolate an aging parent. Being social can help aging parents better deal with life’s changes. Talking with other’s their own age or in their own situation can be extremely helpful. Senior community centers and Adult Day Services offer social activities were aging parents can develop friendships and other relationships.