As we get older, we begin to support our parents in different ways. The beauty of family relationships is how they change — but it can be scary sometimes, too. We never want to think of the ones we love leaving us, but preparing in advance for those last stages of life mean that you get to enjoy the time you have left with your parents, rather than spending it worrying about practicalities. Here are five tips to make sure your parents’ last months or years are as smooth as they can be and you get to spend as much time with them as possible.
Depending on the circumstances and health needs of your parent, you might want to think about ways to bring in more cash flow, perhaps to pay for specific medical care, to support you if you need to stop working to look after them, or for any other costs that might be associated with end-of-life care. One way of doing this is through a viatical settlement, where you can sell off a life insurance policy for a cash value. If this is the way you choose to go, you will need a viatical settlement provider to help you broker the deal.
With this extra sum of money, you can pay for a level of care that can only be gained from personal care services or home care. The different amounts will vary depending on the life insurance policyholder, which is why it’s important to get help from a professional broker to make sure you get a good viatical settlement contract that suits you.
It can be difficult to assess when your parents might need personal care in an assisted living facility or care home, but if they seem to be struggling with the activities of daily living, then they can be a good way to maintain quality of life and dignity in later years. With a range of quality features in an assisted living facility, you can choose what’s best on a personal basis, whether that’s private apartments or 24-hour supervision.
No matter how old your parents get, try and include them in decisions as much as possible. Start conversations with them proactively while they are aware of what’s going on and you can get a clear idea of what they would like to do themselves.
Although these conversations can, of course, be emotional, it’s always easier to make decisions down the line when you have an idea of what your parent would prefer, even if they can’t tell you directly at the time.
Along the same vein, it’s a good idea to make crucial decisions about health care and accommodations ahead of time. Speak to a medical professional about what questions could come up further down the line and talk them through with your parent. If you can get certain decisions made in a written agreement, it once again makes it much easier to put in place down the line, rather than having to make snap decisions in an emergency or when you’re already under pressure.
Remember that you also need to consider your own needs, both mentally and physically. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and try to share the load with a spouse, siblings, or a nursing home if needs be. The only way you can best support your parents later in life is by being present and healthy for them, so take care of yourself as well as them.