This post is sponsored by Depend, Poise, and Ensure but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Recently I was in the bathroom at a local store helping my toddler use the bathroom. In the next stall was a woman, a bit older than me, helping her very elderly Mother use the bathroom. Wow, if that is not the circle of life, I don’t know what is. Instantly I started thinking, “will I ever be in the same situation with my Mother” or “will my OWN child ever have to bathe and dress me?” Questions like this are not easy to think about but statistics show that nearly 10 million adult children over age 50 now care for an aging parent. It is safe to say that many Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers will be responsible for the caregiving of their elderly and aging parents. Don’t let it worry you though, just be aware of your options by knowing these 5 ways to best prepare.
Talk About Your Options
One of the first things you need to do is talk to your aging parent before the need ever arises as to what their wishes are. Do they want to stay at home and have you care for them or would they prefer a home health aid or even a senior living facility? Figure out what’s most realistic for everyone (including siblings) and go from there.
Make a Caregiving budget
Caring for your elderly parents can take time, money, and could be a part or full-time job for you. Make a comprehensive budget as to what you will spend as a caregiver. Also make a companion list of your parent’s resources that will be available so that you can make the best lifestyle decision for you and your family.
Collect Important Info
A great way to be prepared is to collect important information early from your parents. Even if you don’t think it is time, it is. Make copies of your parents’ housing (leases, mortgages), retirement and bank accounts, insurance policies (health, home, auto, life) and Social Security benefits. Do they already have a will in place or power of attorney? If not, do it now and if so collect and copy for your records. You will need a complete list of their doctors’ names, preferred hospitals, places they are currently associated with and current medications and conditions.
It’s never too early to start seeking out different resources and services you may need. Can meals or transportation be provided to your parent at no cost or will you be cooking and driving? What social activities can your aging parent get involved in if they are up for it? Where will you get all the prescriptions they might need or medical supplies? A great resource is the online Eldercare Locator from The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration that can connect you with senior services in your area.
Another great resource to know about and use is the Caregiver program at Sam’s Club. They have a variety of products you might need like Depend, Poise, Advil, Glucerna and Ensure. Easy Club pick-up of your items will make your life easier and save you time by avoiding the crowds. Simply shop online and park in the Drive Thru area (available in select clubs) to pick up your items.
Don’t live by a Sam’s? Not a problem! They offer Discreet shipping options so you can maintain a sense of piece and privacy and even free shipping on select items. Use the “Easy Reorder” option online if you routinely need the same products.
Read up and talk to others about being a caregiver, what transitions would you go through and what it actually takes. You might be helping with dressing, feeding, bathing, and other personal care needs. Grocery shopping, driving parents to appointments, and taking care of all financial and legal matters will also probably be part of the gig. Learn about out-of-pocket expenses that result from caregiving, actual time involved and find out what type of training is available to you, if any. Investigate every aspect of caregiving to make sure you are prepared.