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. Nine in 10 of those caregivers provide care for an aging relative, most of whom are parents.
Caring for one or more older adults is becoming more common as the number of baby boomers has increased exponentially and will continue to do so over the next decade. How does this affect you—the child responsible for the health and well-being of your parent?
You are not alone if you have found yourself searching for a caring for aging parent checklist.
For many, the rising costs of health insurance, senior living, and assisted living have 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, 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 health care assistant, WellBe®, to share in the caregiving process. WellBe is specifically designed to help you and your parent navigate many crucial health and well-being 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 for which you’ve been looking.
How Do I Take Care of My Aging Parents?
Seven-Part Caring for Aging Parents Checklist
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 are just some of the queries adult children face when caring for aging family members.
It’s important to remember that, as you begin your journey of caretaking, 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. Health Care Needs
The umbrella of health includes:
- Health insurance
- Daily medications
- Routine and annual doctor’s visits (including being familiar with and in regular contact with your parent’s health care 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:
- You, another family member, or a delivery service will do the grocery shopping
- Meals can still be prepared and cooked by your parent
- Meals will need to be made for them
If you or your parent cannot 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:
- Ensure that any tripping hazards are removed (rugs, stray wires, etc.)
- Fit toilets, showers, and other bathroom utilities with appropriate fall-prevention and support aids
4. Transportation Access
Assess whether you will have time to be your parent’s primary source of transportation. It’s important to be realistic about your bandwidth in being able to accommodate their:
- Medical appointments
- Social activities
- Other outings
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
Financial management and legal issues 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 severe, sometimes even resulting in death—so an emergency plan must be in place for your parent. That plan must include the following:
- Who will be notified after a fall
- Hospital preference for treatment
7. Social Outlet Options
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one-fourth of adults ages 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. To help ensure your parent’s emotional and mental well-being, they need 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 health care assistant—to help support family caregivers. All that’s needed to get started is simply plugging in the WellBe voice-activated speaker, putting on the WellBe Pendant, or strapping on the WellBe Smartwatch, 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 monitoring system (U.S.-based)
- Answer any health-related questions, including personalized health information about your parent’s insurance/benefits (local providers, what’s covered, and much more)
- Connect your parent to anyone in the uploaded contact list on the WellBe virtual assistant app (“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 WellBe 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 hopefully our caring for aging parents checklist will make it a little easier. For an extra helping hand beyond the checklist, WellBe aims to reduce your fears and concerns by keeping you informed, organized, and supported—at all times.
To begin your journey to more peace of mind today, shop now.