Women2Women - Spring 2018 - 46
Preparing for YOUR Role
as the Child of an Aging Parent
By Wendy Kerschner, Territory Manager, Comfort Keepers
tressed and stretched." Those were
the words one adult daughter used to
describe her situation caring for her aging
parents. She continued by saying, "Caregiving
is a position I just fell into and now it's a job!"
Countless other adult children are finding
themselves in the same situation.
According to the Pew Research Center,
10,000 people a day will be turning age 65
for the next 20 years! That's a startling figure
for women and men who have not yet given
much thought to how they may be called
upon to help their aging parents.
Most families would like to think that their
current status quo situations will continue
indefinitely, but reality can throw a hard
blow to that blind sightedness. Often there
are falls, heart attacks, strokes and potentially
the diagnosis of cancer, dementia, Parkinson's
disease and other unexpected health issues
that present themselves at a moment's notice.
The best thing an adult child can do to
prepare ... IS prepare.
Prepare by having a conversation with aging
loved ones about their wishes. Present the scenario
that if they were to have a health crisis and were
not able to care for themselves or live alone safely,
46 Women2Women Spring 2018
Most families would like to think that their current status
quo situations will continue indefinitely, but reality can
throw a hard blow to that blind sightedness.
what would be their preferred course of action?
Would they want to live in their existing home as
long as possible and welcome help from family,
friends or even hired services? Would they want
to move to a community that could support
their health and wellness needs?
"I don't want to be a burden to you." Most
adult children have heard this familiar comment from a loved one at one point or another,
yet, what steps have been taken to ensure that
does not become the fate?
These types of conversations are not easy,
but they are easier to have while all involved
are healthy and doing well. Emotions will be
at a normal level, there is no immediacy to
the situation, and there is time to consider
all options and have choices. On the other
hand, so many families wait until there is a
crisis. Then emotions are high, choices are
limited, and actions need to happen before
anyone can adequately educate themselves on
the available options and resources.
If you have an aging parent or another
loved one whose care may one day be your
responsibility, begin now to educate yourself,
and them, on the options available. Discuss
all the sensitive topics. Learn if they have a
will, power of attorney and living will (all
necessary legal documents that will guide future
care and decisions). Ask their preference for
care should they need it, in the home or in a
facility. Determine what they would like to
have happen with their possessions. Find out
if they have ever served in the military (or if
they are a Veteran's widow) and are eligible for
Veteran benefits. Bring up the hardest subject
of all, finances. While many individuals think
that Medicare covers everything, it does not.
Many programs are need-based and will
require full disclosure of all financial records,
so it is best to know and prepare now. Ask
questions and get answers.
To help guide adult children through the
information-gathering process for aging loved
ones, a diverse team of professionals serving
the aging population of Berks County have
teamed up to provide the "Aging Parent Fair."
The Aging Parent Fair is a health-fair-styled
event intended specifically for adult children
seeking help, support and resources for their
aging loved ones. Women2Women sponsors,
Penn State St. Joseph and Comfort Keepers,
will be co-hosting an Aging Parent Fair in
the second floor Franciscan Room at
Penn State Health St. Joseph located
at 2500 Bernville Road, Reading
on Wednesday, May 16 from 5-7pm.
All Women2Women members as well as their
spouses, family members, and the public are
invited to attend this free event and begin
preparing for their loved one's future needs.