Watching our parents age can be particularly painful in the face of poor health or the diagnosis of a terminal illness. Yet how we respond, emotionally and financially, can make all the difference in the lives of our families as we take responsibility for the ones who once took care of us.
Although making tough decisions regarding the livelihood of others is never easy, making the most of the time you have left with your parents is absolutely crucial. Whether you’re worried about your family’s finances or simply want to ensure that your parents’ twilight years are as comfortable as possible, keep the following tips in the back of your mind.
Taking Care of Trusts and Inheritance
While talking about money in the face of your parents’ poor health may seem tactless, the fact remains that you can’t afford not to do discuss these matters while your parents are still have their wits about them.
Wills and revocable living trusts are ideal for those with simple estates: likewise, having these documents in place will provide you and your family with peace of mind in the coming years. Don’t think of taking care of legal business in the face of illness as morbid, but rather an investment in your family’s future.
Determining Sibling Responsibilities
If you have siblings, it’s absolutely essential that you all contribute to the care of your parents in some way, shape or form. Either through contributing financially or running errands, resentment will inevitably build between you and your siblings if someone isn’t pulling their weight. At this stage in your lives, perhaps it’s time to drop any petty grudges and instead look at the big picture of what helping your parents now means for the long-term good of your family.
Mind Their Medical Care
Keeping a close eye on your parents’ medical care is a must-do, especially if they’re facing treatments that aren’t fully covered by their insurance. From making sure they take their medications to the prices of potential procedures, it never hurts to ask questions and double-check with your parents’ doctors if you suspect something is awry.
Bring Your Family Together
In the case of a poor prognosis, proactive siblings should strive to find ways to bring their families together in their parents’ final months. Family reunions are on obvious option; likewise, a brief family vacation may be possible depending on your parents’ current state of health. When reaching out to distant family members, make it clear that this may be your parents’ final gathering and to plan accordingly.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
It’s easy to make the mistake of allowing your personal health to fall to the wayside when you’re focusing on your parents. That being said, you absolutely must take some time out for yourself each and every day to avoid becoming sick from stress. Don’t be afraid to ask your siblings for extra help and communicate whenever you feel like you’re carrying the weight of your parents’ condition on your shoulders.
Helping your aging parents is inevitably overwhelming. Do everything in your power now to care for them while focusing on what really matters for your family’s future: you’ll thank yourself down the road.