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How to Help Your Aging Parents in 2020

Our parents care for us when we’re young, teaching us how to make our way in the world. But as time goes on, it’s possible for these roles to reverse. While not all elderly parents will necessarily need help from their children, it’s becoming increasingly likely that adult children will take up a caring role […]

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Our parents care for us when we’re young, teaching us how to make our way in the world. But as time goes on, it’s possible for these roles to reverse. While not all elderly parents will necessarily need help from their children, it’s becoming increasingly likely that adult children will take up a caring role in the future.

The main reason for this becoming more common is that we’re living for longer. In 2018, there was an increase of 0.7% in the number of people aged 90 years and over, with 584,024 people in their 90s that year. With so many people living long into old age, their children who are in their 30s and 40s with families of their own are more likely to need to step in and help out.

But what are the things to be aware of if you’re one of these children taking on this caring role? And what are the legal points to consider? Here’s a look at the key points to be aware of if you need to think about how you’ll care for your parents now and in the coming years.

The main issues

There are some key issues to be aware of, but before you think about those it’s worth taking the time to consider the impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has had a huge impact around the world and continues to affect the global population.

People aged over 70 are at a higher risk of becoming ill if they contract the virus. For those with parents in this age bracket, having an awareness of the current government guidelines and knowing how to help your parents with shielding if necessary can help to keep them safe. The help you provide may be slightly different, depending on whether they are at home or living in a care home, so it’s crucial that you know what guidelines are in place to protect your parents.

The question of care homes is also significant in how you look after your aging parents. Is it worth hiring a team of professionals to attend to them or do you feel it might be better for them if they were to be cared for in a dedicated space? Alternatively, might be easier for them to come and live with you?

This is a significant decision and one that you might need to think about. Their healthcare needs are likely to dictate this, for example if they have dementia, there are facilities run by specially trained professionals. There are financial implications involved, so it’s worth tapping into resources to find out if your parents are entitled to funding.

Other issues to consider include safety concerns. Are they financially safe? Are your parents vulnerable? Could they be easily scammed? Another question around safety could be about their capacity for driving a car. Is their judgement what it was? Are they safe on the roads? What about their home setup? If the stairs are too steep for them or they have mobility issues, their home may need to be adapted.

Another key issue is their quality of life. Looking after your parents mental and emotional wellbeing also plays a huge part in how you care for them. If it’s possible to keep them motivated and interacting with their social circle, this can go a long way towards benefiting them emotionally.

Rights and legalities

With a lot of these issues comes the legal implications. As their child, you may need to have some tough conversations with your parents about the legal side of things. For example, you’ll need to talk about them making a will and helping them plan their taxes.

Here, it’s worth getting advice from expert legal professionals such as Withers who are well-versed in approaching these subjects and handling these areas.  

Working out these key things, along with arranging Lasting Power of Attorney with them, can go a long way to settling everything so you can focus on caring for your parents in the best way possible.

There are a lot of conversations to have and considerations to make as your parents get older. Being prepared and taking the time to work out what’s best for them and for you can be beneficial in the years to come.

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