Keeping It Together: How to Manage When One of Your Parents Needs Nursing

Guest Post by Annabelle Harris, Elders Center

As loved ones begin to age, the responsibility of care often falls on our shoulders. This period can prove especially difficult when one parent needs nursing home care and the other doesn’t. But by choosing the right resources, it’s possible to ease the psychological impact of the situation and find an outcome that works for everyone. LEAP Architecture has some suggestions to help make this transition easier.

Choose the Right Service

It’s important, first and foremost, to focus on the needs of the debilitated parent. Some care services feel more clinical than others. Depending on the extent of your parent’s debilitation, it’s important to locate a service that helps them to keep some semblance of independence, while also getting them the expert care they need.

One option is an in-home service, which can help to alleviate physical discomfort and emotional stress while helping your loved one to retain a sense of normality. This can be an overwhelming search but start by taking note of the aspects of the service that are most suitable for your family. This will allow you to rule out any options that do not meet your requirements.

Secure Funds

While the government does provide some assistance to those who require care, opting for a private service can involve a mountain of costs for which you might not be prepared. To avoid liquidating any pensions and savings your parents have, consider requesting that both parents move to the facility and rent out their home. This option is especially helpful if the home is paid for in full. However, it’s important to understand the implications of property rental and becoming a landlord before committing to this option.

Landlords are responsible for repairs to any damage at the property – many of which may not be covered by insurance. A property management company can assist by taking over any arduous tasks involved in this process, like screening potential tenants, collecting rental payments, and organizing and overseeing repairs. This will free up your time to deal with your own responsibilities, while still providing as much emotional support to your parents as possible.

Move The Pieces

Moving a parent to aged care is a difficult process for everyone, but as Aged Care Prepare explains, the person most affected by these changes is usually the spouse. While it may not be an option for everyone, moving your parents into your own home can help provide the stability needed to handle these uniquely stressful circumstances. If this isn’t a possibility, consider renting a low-maintenance unit near them to provide added support. This will allow you to check in more frequently and avoid any disruption to their normal routine.

Whether you move your parent into your home, you’ll likely need to make some modifications to ensure they are comfortable and safe as they continue to age in place. A few simple ideas are swapping out door knobs for levers, lowering the showerhead, and adding a high-profile toilet with grab bars. Sometimes these projects can be intense, especially if you need to install pipes or move them. If you need help with plumbing-related modifications, look online for local plumbing services and find the one with the best review.

If you decide to make more substantial changes to your home, like adding a mother-in-law suite or even a secondary home on your property, LEAP Architecture can help. They specialize in green building, so you know the additions will be eco-friendly and meet your family’s changing needs.

Maintain the Estate

Depending on the severity of the illness they’re dealing with, your ailing parent’s health may soon leave them unable to handle their own legal and financial affairs. It’s also vital to help your parents prepare a living will if they don’t already have one. This will help you honor their wishes during critical moments when emotions often cloud our judgment. It may be beneficial to grant your other parent power of attorney, so they are not left feeling completely helpless while adjusting to the new status quo.

If your parents own a business, you will also need to determine how to handle that aspect of their life during this transition. It’s helpful to start by gathering all information so that you know the business’s debts and profits. You will then need to decide together if the business will be passed down to another family member or sold. And depending on the business structure, you may need to involve shareholders and the Board of Directors in this decision-making process.

Take Everything One Step at a Time

Becoming responsible for your parents might feel like a challenge that you were never prepared for, but with the right resources at your disposal and the help of the appropriate organizations, this seemingly overwhelming process can be made much easier for everyone involved. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from close friends or family that have had similar experiences and be sure to take advantage of the wealth of information available to you online.