Your parents are aging, and you’re not sure how well they’re managing life at home. You stop by and find lots of takeout containers and pizza boxes. Their fridge doesn’t seem to be well-stocked. You start to question if they’re having a hard time shopping for food and planning weekly menus.
Their laundry builds up between your visits. If you’re there to carry the hamper downstairs, they’re able to do it. Housework is another issue. They can sweep and vacuum floors on one level, but they can’t carry the vacuum up or down the stairs. They can’t vacuum stairs anymore.
It’s time to sit down with the family and have these four conversations. As you explore your parents’ comfort levels with different areas of aging, you’ll develop a solid plan to help them.
Is the Home Safe?
As they age, your parents’ house may not be as safe as it could be. The lighting that used to be okay in the front entry may not be bright enough. The stairs may be harder to go up and down. The bathtub wall may be a little too high.
For safety issues like these, simple changes may help. Change CFL bulbs and older light fixtures for LED ones that have brighter bulbs and are more energy-efficient. Add a sturdy rail on stairs. Put in grab bars in the bathroom.
Do They Like to Cook?
Do your parents rely on takeout because they don’t like to cook or is it that meal prep is hard? If your mom and dad have a hard time standing and chopping vegetables, a stool near the counter might be all that’s needed. They can sit while they prep items.
If your parents have a hard time lifting pots, following recipes, or slicing/chopping meats and vegetables, meal preparation may be better. If they had items sliced and frozen or refrigerated, would they be able to cook then?
Who Do They Want Speaking for Them?
If your parents had an accident or health issue that prevented them from communicating their wishes, is someone named as their medical power of attorney agent? If not, it’s important to designate someone. They should talk to an attorney to set up who they would want to make medical and financial decisions for them if they couldn’t.
You’ve had conversations about in-home care. What’s next? Call our in-home care agency with your list of questions. Be prepared to answer questions about your parents’ abilities and where they most need help. A care plan will be created that meets their needs and the first visit from an in-home care aide is scheduled. Pick up the phone and make the call to get started.