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Planning for Your Loved One’s Care



It may be hard to realize that your parents—the people who took care of you—may need help taking care of themselves. It may also be difficult to talk with them about their need for additional help. Starting the conversation early, while your parents are in good health and able to make decisions, lets you make plans and take steps to ensure that your parents get first-rate care and remain as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. 

As you help your aging parents, be alert and watch for changes in their physical and emotional health and their ability to take care of their own needs. Ask yourself the following questions about each parent:

  • Has your parent lost weight loss, especially without trying to?
  • Does your parent have trouble getting safely around at home?
  • Is your parent having trouble handling bathing, dressing, and grooming needs?
  • Has your parent missed medical appointments?
  • Has your parent’s moods or personality changed suddenly or significantly?  
  • Does your parent have trouble performing regular activities?
  • Does your parent fail to take medications as directed by a physician? 
  • Is your parent unable to drive safely?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s a good idea to ask your parent’s doctor to assess their health and needs. In addition, you should continue to be on the lookout for major changes in your parents and discuss these changes together. Sooner or later, many elderly parents will struggle with physical or emotional challenges. If you have a plan in place to take care of these changes, you’ll be in a better position to help your parents get the medical care needed and the most effective home care services.