Q: How can we coordinate a care plan for my parents who have vastly different caregiving needs?

A: Care plans need to be individualized for each care recipient and it is not at all unusual for each of your elderly parents to have different needs at different times. Wherever possible, care arrangements should be put in place for the parent who is in the need of the most care. For example, if your Mom needs only minimal help, let's say with managing her medications, while your Dad needs help transferring from bed to chair, getting in and out of the shower and dressing, there need to be resources available to help your Dad.

If not, it's likely that your Mom will try to help him and can injure herself and your Dad in the process. Safety is the most important consideration and then you work from there.

As another example, if one parent suffers from advanced Alzheimer's Disease (AD) while the other is confined to a wheelchair, it may be necessary to separate them. The parent with AD may need to be in a secure memory care unit, while the parent with mobility issues may do fine at home with appropriate aging-in-place modifications.

A geriatric care manager can help you ensure both of your parents needs are met, as well as plan for their future needs as they age.