Living With Your Aging Parents and How to Be Prepared

 

Hello, Bella readers! To say that I’m excited to have the opportunity to share helpful content with all of you today and in the future would be an understatement. But before telling you my story, I have to give you my background.

I am a driven entrepreneur and a Money, Business and Sales Coach. I’m also the Co-Founder of a successful women’s networking organization and foundation. My passion for over 20 years has been to teach women entrepreneurs how to grow their business, learn the necessary skills to become successful, take control of their funds and live the life of their dreams. I have 4 children ranging from 26 to 16 and an 18-month-old granddaughter. I know first hand that raising a family, running multiple businesses and dealing with aging parents can be a juggling act at times, to put it mildly.

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Amidst the chaos, it’s scary to think that we could all be just a few minutes away from a crisis that can throw a wrench into our busy lives and affect the lifestyle that we are so accustomed to living. I learned this lesson the hard way 12 years ago when my mom, who was the center of our family and my entire world, suddenly started acting very strange at the young age of 61.

It’s true that family dynamics start to change as our parents age, and if one of your parents suffer from an illness, you can expect to reach that point much earlier than expected whether you’re ready or not.

My mom was always dressed to impress, owned more shoes than Imelda Marcos, traveled frequently and loved dining, shopping and going to plays in NYC. We spoke multiple times a day, every day and she always did all of my shopping (because I was bad at it, and she was damn good at it.) She was funny, graceful, selfless and spent countless days and hours with mine and my sister’s children whether or not we asked her because she really, truly loved it.

When I started to become alarmed something may be wrong I was afraid to act because I honestly didn’t want to hear any bad news. I needed her and I didn’t want to imagine my life any other way. My world collapsed when I finally brought her to a doctor and learned she had been stricken with early onset of Alzheimer’s at 62, the same year she retired and was looking forward to traveling all over Europe and spending more time with her family. My first instinct? Complete denial. Once I realized wishing it away was never going to work I finally decided to learn everything I could about every stage of this horrific disease. It hurt every step of the way, and it never got easier. But the one takeaway I had from this that I want to share with everyone who may go through something similar is this: you can’t change the diagnosis, but you can change the impact it has on your lifestyle and theirs if you are prepared.

Here is a simple list of things you can do now so that you can be prepared to take care of your aging parents when the time comes:

1. Have A Family Meeting

Some parents may feel ill at ease sharing their personal wishes and financial information because they aren’t used to it. Stress the fact that as they age different things may come up that affect not only them but all of you and you all have to make sure you make certain preparations so it does not negatively impact all of your lives.

2. Find A Financial Professional

Make an appointment to meet with a financial professional you are all comfortable with and go with your together so you can see where you all stand and learn about the options you have.

3. Find An Attorney

Your attorney should specialize in estate planning and also Medicaid in the state your parents live in.

4. Learn About Long-Term Care Insurance

I cannot stress how important it is to see if your parents qualify for Long-Term Care Insurance. Having this insurance gives you a wide range of options without having to spend all of their money.

5. Ask The Right Questions About Life Insurance

Life insurance can be very confusing. Nobody ever takes the time to read their policies they depend on the agent who sold it to them to tell them how it works. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen! You need to know what they have, how long they will have it, and what happens if they become disabled or become terminally ill. Are they paying the correct premiums? If I had 1 dollar for every time what someone thought they had, wasn’t even close to what they had I would be cold stone wealthy. Make sure you have a professional analyze their life insurance!

I can’t change the fact that I can never bring my mother back to the way she was. I can’t make her recognize me again, say my name or pick up the phone to give me advice. I can’t control the horrible disease that took her from me. But because I planned, I can keep her safe in her beautiful home with the proper care 24/7. My stepfather can continue to work and go out to have time for himself. My family can enjoy the time we have left with her because we’re not consumed with worry and panic over the process. If you’re reading this, I urge you to set the time aside to start the conversation with your parents now so that you have nothing to do but enjoy each other and the time you have together later.

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