Three recent articles focused on issues that adult children who are caregivers often face with their parents:
In Forbes Magazine, Carolyn Rosenblatt, an elder law attorney explains the importance of getting a diagnosis, which can help explain dementia-like behavior and ensure that medication interactions, infections, stroke, or even dehydration aren’t to blame for memory or behavior problems. Using a friend’s dad as an example, she provides four recommendations when a parent shows troubling behavior. They include getting a checkup from a reliable MD, preferably a neurologist who works with aging patients, locating and updating estate planning documents (while people are still competent to sign documents), planning ahead for possible care needs, and discussing the parent’s situation with all of the family members during a family meeting.
An Associated Press/Washington Post article highlights a trend of adult children remodeling their homes to create spaces for their parents to move in with them. The National Association of Home Builders reports that 62% of builders they surveyed were working on a home modification related to aging in 2010. A builder interviewed for the story suggested that involving the parents in the conversation with a builder will make a transition smoother. A company in Indianapolis, called Next Door Garage Apartments, can convert a two-car garage into a complete apartment within ten days for $35,000. A woman whose mother-in-law came to live with them explained that the arrangement works well because her mother-in-law doesn’t need complex medical care, the family got along well before living together, and the mother-in-law pays for her portion of utilities each month, thus retaining some independence.
A Sacramento Bee article addresses the importance of communication between adult children and their parents around long-term care issues, including end-of-life health care preferences and finances. Barbara Gillogly, a gerontology professor, explains that while conversations are awkward, “If people won’t talk about it, they need to understand that at some point, somebody else will make those decisions for them… Do you want the state to make those decisions? Do you want your adult children to make their best guess? Or do you want them to know?” For more information, visit: