One of the most challenging moments of your life may be the day that you find your parents can no longer care for themselves. Once that realization hits, you might find an expensive and emotionally-taxing experience in front of you. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to reduce financial strain and to help guide your parents into the next phase of their lives seamlessly. 

 

Talk to Your Parents about Their Wishes

It is important to make your parents active participants in their care planning. While it might feel awkward to broach the subject, and you might need to tread lightly around feelings of anger or denial, this is a necessary conversation. Start the discussion off by asking your parents if they have thought about their care and living arrangements for the future, and inquire about their confidence with their financial situation. When this conversation occurs before a crisis, you'll feel better prepared to deal with potential issues as they arise. 

 

Plan for Long-Term Costs

As you make a financial plan for your parents' future, do so preparing for long-term costs. Assume that your parents will live long lives well past the average life expectancy. Then, research solutions that will best maximize their resources. For example, you might want to consider adaptive aids, structural improvements, and homecare services in their existing home where they can remain, if possible. Changes like adding a wheelchair ramp, relocating the master bedroom to the first floor, and adding handrails in the bathroom can better accommodate your parents as they age. 

 

Don't Quit Your Job

If your parents need full-time care, you may be tempted to quit your job to take on these responsibilities. However, you should think carefully before you turn in your two-week notice. Gaining time with your parents and saving money on care costs might seem like attractive benefits, but you need to consider what you might be giving up. Think about how your life would change without your current income and whether your own retirement savings might be impacted. Plus, if you leave your job, what are the chances you will find work in the future? Will you lose benefits like health insurance, license insurance, or long-term care policies? These are all important considerations before you make the leap to quit working. 

 

Create a Schedule with Family Members

As your parents age, they may need additional care and help at home. In some families, all these added responsibilities fall on one child, and caregiver burnout is often the consequence. Instead, if there are multiple family members willing and able to help, create a schedule of who will assist and when. Family members who are willing to help but don't live nearby may be able to contribute financially for care from an aged care centre. 

 

Find Ways to Cut Costs

Caring for an aging loved one can be an expensive endeavor, so it is important to know where you can cut costs. Explore low-cost or free public benefits by contacting your county's human services department, and find out whether your parents might qualify for Medicare. You may also save a considerable amount of money by switching to an online pharmacy and buying your parents' medications in mass quantities. 

As your parents age and their care needs increase, you can expect many physical, emotional, and financial changes in all your lives.By following these tips, you can reduce the stress of caring for aging parents and focus more on enjoying the time you have left together.