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Because we live very close to both our parents my husband and I know that we will be caring for our parents. Siblings live out of state. Thankfully the parents live in their own homes and require minor help, mostly things they physically cannot do like some home repairs, driving in the city, or help with technology. What are some things that could be done now to make the transition to more dependency less stressful?

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One way to talk to your parents is to say that you've just done your own POAs and wills and you want to make sure your parents have theirs in order too. If you (as their child) think it's important for yourself (and it IS!), then your parents, at their age, for sure need to have those documents in place.

I'm 63 but did POAs for health care and property done, along with my will after we got my parents updated about 10 years ago. That's an easy way to open the dialogue. Everyone (regardless of age) should have those documents in place! The other previous suggestions are good too.
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I just read some of the suggested articles listed in the welcome email. Between your suggestions and the info from the articles I feel like I can start a conversation with my parents. All the suggestions sound so simple and direct, it makes me wonder why I have been so anxious. It's a relief to have someone to talk to. Thanks again!
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I'd stock up with leaflets about any legal matters you wanted to get on the agenda - oh yes, glancing to my right, it looks like there are quite a few on the forum; but the various family/elder law professional associations probably also do useful laymen's guides. Introductory reading gives your parents ample time to get their heads round the issues before you all start talking turkey.
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Balance, you are doing the right thing about asking now what to look out for in the future. I think many of us here wish we would have done the same thing, and probably would have taken a different road in regarding to our aging parents. How I wish I had known about this website 6 years ago.

How I approached my Dad about doing a new Will/Trust is that I told him there are now new State laws, and if his Will isn't written to reflect those laws, the government could take a big hunk of his estate. That opened up his eyes and ears.

As for the medical POA, recently Dad was in the hospital because of a bad fall, and I was there with him as I called the EMT's. The next day while Dad was still in the hospital, I told him I shouldn't be helping him with medical decisions since Mom has his medical POA. But my Mom is almost blind now and has lost most of her hearing, thus the reason she didn't want to come to the hospital. I told Dad he needs to think about updating his medical POA to add another person in case Mom couldn't help with the decisions. That also opened his eyes and ears.

We have an appointment with an Elder Law Attorney next month :)
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Thank you all. I never thought of gradually adding hired help so they would be use to it. I do think it is better for them to do what they can while they can. I am going to research the emergency lights as a possible addition now. Do you have any suggestions on how to start a conversation about POA, advance directives, and other legal matters?
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OM goodness...such great advice here. The only things I can think of include checking their pill boxes to make sure they're taking their pills every day. One of the first things you might find yourself doing, is prepping their weekly/monthly pill boxes. Then check to make sure they're taking them.

Don't start doing a whole bunch of household chores for them. Very important. I'm sure it's been mentioned. They need to get used to paying for them. If you have to care take THEM and their HOMES, you'll be in a pickle. Mom had a snow shoveler, a house cleaner, a grass cutter. Plus Meals on Wheels after a while. She got used to paying for things. Don't make the mistake of taking on home maintenance. Believe me, it will wear your lil' butts out!!!

Watch their checkbooks. Make sure they're paying their bills on time. That's another thing I surreptitiously found with mom. Paying things twice . . . not paying at all. Then it's time to simply and matter-of-factly take over . . . letting them know what their checkbook balance is, but doing the grunt work.

I think most other things have been mentioned. You'll know. Just make sure you don't wait too long. As soon as you see something slipping? Plug the dyke. ;)
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Get them used to having hired help! Absolutely! Gradually, one task at a time would be good. Even if you can easily do the task for them, get them thinking about having a "professional" do it. Eventually you will not be able to do all the tasks for all the houses and you are in a real pickle if their attitude is "no strangers in my house!"

Spend quality time with them. When you are there, it is ultimately better to be playing scrabble or watching a movie together, or baking cookies with Mom, or sorting fishing flies with Dad than to be scrubbing the toilet. Only you can be in your special relationship with them. Anyone can be hired to do the laundry.
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POAs, advance directives, wills should all be in place. Look at where they live. Is "aging in place" going to be an option? Stairs, bathroons on every floor? Think about if they are going to be able to live there in 10 years.

As poster says above, don't spoil them. Get them used to having hired help come in, someone to do laundry, light housekeeping, garden and lawn work. Keep an eye on their mental health. With my mom, this was the biggest issue, not something that we were expecting. Suddenly, for no discernible reason, she became overwhelmed by anxiety. Know that the most predictible thing in this process is that there is no predictiblity. Everything can change in a second. Be prepared to be flexible.
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Are the parents computer savvy? If so, check around and see if any of the grocery stores offer on-line service with home delivery. It's been a life saver for me. My only issue is my Mom saying that something "taste funny" even though it is the same identical food product from the on-line service that is found in the store :P

When it comes to doctor appointment, try to have my parents seeing the same doctor/dentist, I realize in some cases that won't be possible, if so make back-to-back appointments for them and that will save you extra trips to the doctors.... otherwise you will want to scream if you find yourself in one more waiting room !!

One thing I wish I did was not spoil my parents [also living on their own] with driving them anywhere they wanted.... I wound up using all my vacation days and sick days at work, and had none left over for me. Cutting back on driving my parents hasn't been easy. If my parents had their way, we would be out of the house 2 to 3 times A DAY going here, going there, off to another grocery store to use a 50 cent coupon, etc.

If you live in an area where there is a lot of snow, and the parents have a driveway, it won't be easy trying to shovel your own driveway and then going down to shovel both of theirs. After a couple of years we had to stop doing that because of our own age decline, we just couldn't do it any more.

Health can change from one year to the next. Back 6 years ago my parents use to walk 2 miles each and every day, and Dad could still drive. Then Dad had a very mild heart attack. No more driving. Now, neither [both in their 90's] can walk down the driveway. And at least once every couple months we have to leave work because Dad fell and can't get up.

Make sure your parents have their Wills/Trusts and POA up to date.

One thing I plan to do in a few years for myself and my sig other, we plan to sell our large house and move into a retire community where we can enjoy being around people of our own generation, where the community has transportation for us, where we can enjoy dining in the on-site restaurants, enjoy the indoor pool, and other activates. Plus, there are doctors on-site who have their own offices in the complex. And if either of us fall, within minutes security can be summoned to help. We will have more quality time, and no one would need to worry about us :)
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Watch over them, but do not attempt to be a 24/7 nurse. As long as they are safe at home, fine. Get someone to cut the grass and shovel the snow. Then add in the garden care. Gently relieve one task at a time. Someone to wash the windows. Then add mopping or dusting. If it is gradual, it is less invasive.
If they refuse that, you let it pile up and overwhelm.
Safety is the biggest concern. We made sure mom had automatic emergency lights in the bathroom and kitchen, a central smoke detection system and fire extinguishers.
We got banking info and looked at the accounts online monthly to be sure taxes and utilities were paid. Errors were found.
Walk around the car and inspect for damage at every visit. She would hit and run.
Check Rx bottles. If the prescription was filled 25 days ago, there should only be five pills still in the bottle. More errors emerged. Some over, some under counts.
Check the fridge. Rotten stuff is usually on a bottom shelf in the back.
There is more, but this should get you started.
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