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How to Better Advocate for and Coordinate Your Parents’ Senior Care

  senior man and daughter hugging

Determining how to plan for your parents’ senior care can seem challenging and overwhelming at first. There are many logistics that need to come together in order to ensure your parents are receiving the best care possible. Helping develop your parents’ senior care plan will become easier when you assume the role of not only a coordinator but an advocate as well. Being able to be by your parents’ side and help them through their senior care can be rewarding and bring you closer together. In order to best support your parents, consider the following three strategies and incorporate them into your parents’ care plan.

Strive to Be As Present As Possible

Being as present and readily available as possible is ideal for your ability to be your parents’ best advocate. Putting together a schedule to stop by, lending a helping hand, and meeting with your parents and caregiving professionals on a regular basis helps to make sure everything is going according to plan. However, for those who may not live nearby where your parents are receiving care, whether it be respite care or a senior living program, it can be challenging to be a consistent part of their lives. Being close would allow you to readily check in on your parents’ progress, and assist them if they are ultimately going to return to their home after short term care. You may want to consider relocating if you live out of state or simply just move closer to your parents. This is a big decision and may seem disruptive or difficult at first. To help, you could start looking into ideal neighborhoods or areas near your parents’ senior care community. You could talk to real estate professionals, your parents’ care manager, and even consider getting a mortgage pre-approval to better help you decide where to live and what you could afford in relation to supporting your parents’ care expenses. Whatever your living arrangements are, being present or finding ways to do so can help boost your parents’ confidence and provide them with valuable moral support. Whether that involves living close, coming out on a scheduled basis, relying on a sibling nearby for support, or working more closely with caregiving staff, finding the best way to be present is critical.

Communicate Effectively

Your ability to better coordinate your parents’ senior care will be dependent on your communication skills. Remember to not only communicate effectively with your parents but with the care manager of their senior living program as well. Remember the importance of meeting with care professionals and making sure you understand your parents’ progress, what they may be looking for in their community or what they need from you. Senior care programs offer a plethora of opportunities beyond just care and health services. Make sure your parents are taking advantage of the great activities and social groups available. Help foster your parents’ interests and encourage them to be involved with things they may enjoy as well. Your care manager can help with this too, and can help ensure your parents are not only nurturing their physical health, but mental, emotional and spiritual health. Staying up to date and being involved in all aspects of care can help you better advocate for your parents.

Remember to Establish Boundaries and Show Compassion

It is very important for you and your parents to establish some boundaries surrounding care. It can be easy to end up stepping on each other’s toes if expectations are not discussed and laid out early on. Remember that your parents are adults, so respect their thoughts, feelings and decisions as well. You want to guide them and be a resource, but not end up being too controlling or making their decisions for them. Remember to talk with your parents and hear them out, and also remind them to understand your own needs as well. Pay attention to their feelings and be sure to take note of any obvious changes or signs they may need some additional support. Also, don’t forget your own needs as well; You don’t want to experience caregiver burnout. Remember to set some healthy and realistic expectations for yourself. Once you have a conversation and establish these guidelines, it can help mitigate stress and build confidence in the overall senior care process. Establishing expectations while being compassionate and showing empathy to your parents can make all the difference.

Getting involved in your parents’ senior care will have positive benefits for all of you. Not only will it help give your parents a peace of mind knowing you are there for them every step of the way, but it improves the overall quality of care and your relationship with your parents overall. Being able to strike the right balance for coordinating and advocating is a rewarding experience, and don’t hesitate to seek the advice of professionals and keep up to date on the best practices for helping your parents.