Are You and Your Parents Ignoring the Elephant in the Room?

Senior couple at home on sofa with adult children

With the year-end holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah rapidly approaching, long-distance adult children, cousins and grandchildren will make the journey to visit parents, siblings and grandparents. For adult children, the holidays can bring about sobering realizations if mom and dad aren’t moving about as easily as they used to or seemingly minor fender benders betray symptoms of something worse. Have these incidents been occurring for the past year, perhaps even longer, or are these isolated events?

Aging is an inevitable part of life and with that comes diminished physical and mental capability. This realization is difficult for people to accept because it can mean giving up cherished activities of driving, cooking or gardening.  And broaching the conversation that your parents might need help can be difficult if siblings don’t recognize the problem or if parents insist they are physically fine. Unfortunately, this is the reality that all to often families experience. Cathy Knight, state director for the Washington State Association of Area Agencies on Aging, remarked in an earlier interview with that frequently people don’t research information on where to find care until there is a crisis, and by then, they are at their wit’s end.

Consider this:  who will care for your parents if an unexpected accident happens, leaving them injured? Or if an ailment or other infirmity results in their being too frail to handle cooking, cleaning or dressing themselves?

The Administration on Aging reports that “by 2040, there will be about 82.3 million older persons,” representing 21.7% of the population, which means that millions of families will face the aforementioned scenarios. To help people learn how to navigate the senior living landscape and often-dizzying array of care options, we will devote the next month to discussing this situation in greater depth. From deciding which option is right for you to learning their respective costs and understanding the available state-provided services, we will help you prepare to broach the subject so you and your family can proactively make decisions to avert a future crisis.


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