Through our lives, many of us look to Mom or Dad as our biggest supporters. As they age, that role often reverses. To keep child and parent from feeling overwhelmed with new responsibilities and roles, take some steps toward a practical plan.
Be organized. Keep track of your thoughts and questions in a notebook and refer to it as you speak to your parent, siblings, medical staff and others.
Consider key areas. Thoughtfully consider your parent’s needs as it relates to each of these eight areas: family support, home safety, health care, cognitive health, mobility, personal hygiene, meal preparation and social interaction.
Consider your own needs. Honestly assess your ability and availability to care for your parent. Never hesitate to reach out to others who have more expertise, ability and time to be the best support to an aging parent.
Go slow with changes. Unless it’s an emergency, focus on one or two critical needs at a time and include the parent in decisions. Be a partner, not an adversary, when making changes.