Your family doesn’t need to put itself into a tizzy when it’s time for elder care solutions for a hospitalized loved one. After all, your parent’s health will give you enough to worry about. With a little planning, you can help your family avoid crisis mode and focus on getting your loved one well again.
Planning elder care solutions before an emergency is a smart way to avoid a family crisis before it starts. Who will make decisions about Dad’s health care if he’s no longer able? If Mom’s in the hospital, who will care for her cat? Making these decisions before an emergency not only allows your parent to be part of the decision-making process, it also allows elder care solutions to be decided when the family is calm.
Caring for aging parent strategies include contacting the right people in an emergency. If the list is long, consider asking two or three family members to share the responsibility. Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to notify when a senior parent is admitted to the hospital:
Family members and close friends
Church prayer chain and/or minister
Others involved in your elder care solutions, such as meal delivery services or in-home assistance.
Caring for an aging parent in the hospital includes setting up a visiting schedule. One good reason to limit your loved one’s visitors is that many hospitals only allow a certain number to be in the room. A second reason to set up a schedule is that too many visitors can overwhelm an already sick parent. Work with other family members to come up with a schedule that works for everyone.
Don’t forget to include the financials as part of your elder care solutions plan. For example, who will take charge of submitting payments for their everyday bills, such as rent, mortgage payments, or utilities? Will you or another family member pay for them out of pocket, or will Dad let you know where to find bank account numbers or the checkbook? If your parent does their banking online, make sure you know where to find the passwords.
Before your elderly parent is discharged, consult with a hospital social worker or case manager. He or she will help you organize resources that make your loved one’s care more manageable. For example, they can determine whether your father-in-law is capable of living independently or whether it’s safer for him to move in with family. Based on the case manager’s recommendations, your family can find the best in elder care solutions.
Caring for an aging parent in the hospital doesn’t need to cause a family panic. If possible, prepare emergency elder cares solutions while your parent is well. When the moment finally comes, you can focus on holding your mom’s hand instead of fumbling for phone numbers or looking for a cat-sitter.
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