son with his aging parent

How to Plan for the Care of Your Aging Parents

It is astonishing how quickly one passes from the stage of tending to the needs of young children to the stage of having to consider ways to assist aging parents. Nonetheless, this is the expected course of life. Except in very few cases, older parents become less independent and more in need of assistance as they grow older. 

At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., our Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) have the specialized training and experience to assist clients throughout Southeastern Massachusetts in setting the course to keep their parents safe and happy as they age.

Whether you live close to your aging parents and provide a great deal of hands-on care or live at a distance from them and coordinate their care from a distance, our well-informed, compassionate elder care/estate planning lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to discuss the present and future needs of your aging parents and to plan for their comfortable future.

Don’t Just Talk to Your Parents Listen to Them

Just as your parents took care of you as you were growing up, it is now your turn to take care of them. In both cases, discussing possibilities and restrictions is often the most difficult part of the “parental” role. Explaining to your parents why they can no longer drive or manage their finances may be harder than explaining to your young child they must hold their hand crossing the street or why they can’t eat cookies for lunch. 

Either situation requires patience, empathy, and diplomacy and requires your remembering that you were once a young child and will hopefully one day be an elderly parent. That’s why it’s critical to listen to your parents’ needs and wishes, not just evaluate them. 

In most cases, others may have to be part of the conversation: your siblings, one parent in terms of the other parent’s care, and perhaps an especially close aunt, uncle, or friend. Try to work out some division of labor among other concerned parties. For example, your sister may be more adept at managing your parents’ finances and you may have more time to drive your parents to appointments.

Help Is Available for Aging Parents Throughout Massachusetts

Various federal, state, and local agencies provide free assistance to elderly people and their families. These include:

  • Councils on Aging (COAs) 
  • Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs)
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Options Counseling

Other local organizations, such as civic centers, religious centers, libraries, parks, recreational facilities, educational institutions, health institutions, and even museums may also be good resources for creative, educational, or therapeutic programs for your parents, depending on their specific circumstances and interests. Consulting with your parents’ primary care doctor or with a geriatric care manager may also be helpful. 

Care Options for Aging Parents

If you keep in close touch with your parents, you will become aware of areas in which they need intervention. These areas may be as diverse as problems with banking, cooking, walking stairs, driving, caring for pets, or bathing. The trick is to open communication lines so that they can confide in you about their needs without shame or embarrassment.

Types of Living Arrangements to Be Considered

Depending on your parents’ states of mental and physical health, their financial resources, and their preferences, you should all consider the possibilities of home care (household services and/or nursing care), an assisted living facility, a rehabilitation/nursing care setting, transportation services, etc. Financial arrangements should be made promptly. For example, if nursing care may be necessary in the coming years, our elder care attorneys can help you protect their assets while preparing them for Medicaid eligibility.

We Will Make Sure Your Aging Parents Have All the Necessary Documents

They will need documents, such as a durable power of attorney, a Health Care Proxy, a HIPAA release, a Will and/or trusts, an Advanced Directive, and a Living Will for your family to be able to follow their wishes in the event of their incapacity or death.

Contact Our Experienced Certified Elder Law Attorneys Today

It is wise to prepare for aging as we prepare for growth as they are part of the same process. You can’t wait to plan for your child’s college education until they are in high school, and you can’t wait to plan for your parent’s infirmity or death until they are in an ambulance. For the sake of your parents’ well-being and your peace of mind, contact our attorneys now.