When you become a parent to your parent

A family gathers around a table for dinner.

Help from family members

Caring for an aging parent can be very rewarding, but it can also be a challenge. If you see a decline in your own health or feel overwhelmed, ask for help from family members. Humana recommends the following:

  • Make a checklist of things you need help with.
  • Hold a family meeting upon the first signs of parent dependency.
  • Discuss roles each member may play. Create a plan of action.
  • Ask family members to choose a time and day of the week they can help.
  • Request help for financial support, transportation to appointments, housekeeping and paperwork.
  • Discuss options with your parent while he or she is still independent.

Help beyond family members

When help from family members is not available or offered, you may feel that you have no support. Giving yourself a break by seeking professional help and services is a great solution. Here are a few tips from Humana:

  • Call senior centers and adult day care centers for information on meals, classes, activities and transportation
  • Ask if your grocery store prepares meals that can be delivered
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost meal programs from local groups
  • Hire personal and in-home care services to help with daily activities, such as dressing and preparing meals, and also to provide companionship
  • Connect with other caregivers at senior centers and support programs
  • Reach out to volunteer organizations and churches for someone who can provide companionship

Help with costs

If your parent has limited finances or your family members are unable to help with expenses, follow these tips:

  • Seek financial advice from estate-planning consultants who understand the financial issues
  • Contact government-sponsored programs that may cover home care for those who meet certain eligibility criteria
  • Ask your parent’s insurance agency if his or her plan will cover limited home care services for short periods
  • Inquire if your parent’s Medicare plan covers home healthcare, especially if he or she is recovering from an injury or surgery

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