If you are caring for an aging parent, you are not alone. In fact, research supports that there are an estimated 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 and older in the United States, with nine-in-ten providing care for an aging relative—most of whom—care for a parent. Caring for one (or more) older adult is becoming more common as the number of senior baby boomers increases exponentially (and will continue to do so over the next decade.) And, how does this impact you—the child responsible for the health and wellbeing of your parent?
If you have found yourself searching for a caring for aging parent checklist, you are also not alone.
For many, the rising cost of health insurance, senior living, and assisted living has made caring for your aging parent a necessity. Or, perhaps you have a parent who has decided to age in place as a preference, wanting as much independence as possible. Either way, the prospect of managing care for family members can feel like a heavy responsibility—even if it’s one you embrace!
At HandsFree Health, we created the voice-activated healthcare assistant, WellBe®, to share in the caregiving process. WellBe is specifically designed to help you and your parent navigate a number of crucial health and wellbeing areas associated with aging in place. But, before we get to that, we want to help by providing the caring for an aging parent checklist you’ve been looking for.
How Do I Take Care of My Aging Parents?
Here’s a Seven-Part Checklist to Get You Started!
What documents do I need for elderly parents? What questions should I ask my aging parents? How do I make sure I’m not missing anything important? These questions and others are simply some of the queries that adult children are faced with when caring for aging family members.
It’s important to remember as you begin your journey of caretaking, that you have support and resources to help you. Managing senior care for your parents may not always be easy. But, knowing what’s involved and having a plan in place, can hopefully help make the process a little less cumbersome.
Here are some top parent-caretaking list priorities:
1. Healthcare Needs
Under the umbrella of health includes:
- Health insurance
- Daily medications
- Routine and annual doctor’s visits (including being familiar and in regular contact with your parent’s healthcare providers)
2. Food and Nutrition Requirements
As part of ensuring that your parent is getting the nutritional quality and intake needed, it’s important to consider whether:
- Grocery shopping will be done by you, another family member, or a delivery service
- Meals can still be prepared and cooked by your parent
- Meals will need to be made for them
If you are unable to prepare and cook daily meals, there are services you can hire to have healthy meals delivered.
3. Housekeeping and Home Preparation
In addition to general housekeeping like routine cleaning and upkeep, consider whether your parent needs any safety implementations in the home or assistive devices. You should also:
- Make sure that any tripping hazards are removed (rugs, stray wires, etc.)
- Toilets, showers, and other bathroom utilities are fitted with appropriate fall-prevention and support aids
4. Transportation Access
Assess whether you will have time to be your parent’s main source of transportation. It’s important to be realistic about your bandwidth in being able to accommodate:
- Medical appointments
- Social outlets
- Other outings for your parent
If you are concerned you may not be able to handle all of these needs, there are transportation services that specialize in assisting seniors.
5. Financial Management and Legal Issues
This can include managing:
- Estate Planning
- Other legal documents and responsibilities
6. Emergency Planning
Did you know that according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall? These falls can be serious, sometimes even resulting in death—which is why it’s imperative that an emergency plan is in place for your parent (see our solution below!)
- Who will be notified
- Hospital preference
7. Social Outlet Options
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. To help ensure your parent’s emotional and mental wellbeing, it’s important for her/him to remain connected to friends and loved ones, and feel a sense of community and closeness.
Help is Here: Meet Your Caretaking Assistant (Hi, WellBe!)
Earlier, we mentioned that our HandsFree Health founders purposely designed WellBe—a user-friendly, virtual healthcare assistant—to help support family caregivers. All that’s needed to get started is simply plugging the WellBe voice-activated speaker into an outlet, connecting to Wi-Fi, and using your voice (“Ok, WellBe, can you tell me…”). Then, WellBe goes to work to:
- Set-up medication and appointment reminders instantly
- Respond to emergency falls and other scenarios with a 24/7 365 days a year emergency medical alert (U.S.-based) monitoring system
- Communicate health vitals such as weight, blood pressure reading, and glucose levels
- Answer any health-related questions, including personalized health information pertaining to your parent’s insurance/benefits (local providers, what’s covered, and much more)
- Connect your parent to anyone in the uploaded contact list (“Okay, WellBe, call my daughter!)
- Provide entertainment and a bridge to the outside world with instant access to music, audiobooks, and even weather updates
And, as the adult child and caretaker, your worries are alleviated knowing that with WellBe you can help facilitate many caretaking tasks remotely. WellBe will:
- Inform you if your parent has missed a daily medication dose
- Alert you when your parent has missed a health appointment
- Allow you to keep vital health information, manage prescriptions, and more in one central, easily accessed place (And, it’s 100% HIPAA compliant)
Caretaking for a parent can feel overwhelming and worrisome, but WellBe helps reduce your fears and concerns by keeping you informed, organized, and supported—at all times.
You can begin your journey to more peace of mind today, Shop now.