We’ve spoken with a few people who have parents that live outside of D.C. and who are worried about them living independently. The children have talked with them about moving to D.C., but the parents aren’t interested. The children are stressed out. Here’s a post for all those people who are going through something similar. You are not alone.

You may have begun to worry about your parents living situation because they don’t do the simple tasks well. You may see signs of this such as their house is dirty, refrigerator has a lot of spoiled food in it, or body weight is dropping. You may have also begun to worry because a few severe things have happened such as your parents have begun falling, have developed attitude issues, or are wondering. These are all signs that it is time to have a conversation with mom or dad about getting help.

Start a casual conversation with your parents during their best time of day; typically, its morning. Suggest something small, such as offering to hire a cleaning service, someone to shop for them, or a driver to take them around to do errands. If they agree, then hire a caregiver to do these tasks. If the caregiver is successful at developing a relationship with your parents, then when more care is needed, the caregiver can step in and help with their personal care as well.

If your parents refuse additional help, it’s okay. It’s their life and they are entitled the take the risks they wish. Chances are you are more stressed out about their situation then they are. Try bringing up care one more time, but after an event that care could have prevented or has caused them to need help thereon. If they refuse again, then drop the discussion for now. There are two things that we suggest at this point:

(1) Talk to their doctors. See if they agree with you. If so, have them suggest that your parents should have someone around to help them.

(2) Create a back-up plan. There may be a time when they step forward and ask for your help. If you have a backup plan, you’ll be prepared.

To create a back-up plan, first think about their care needs—the activities of daily living (“ADLs”) and instrumental activities of daily living (“IADLs”) are lists that you can reference to gauge how much help they need. Transferring, walking, toileting, bathing, dressing, and eating are the six ADLs. Shopping, cooking, managing medications, managing communications, doing house chores, driving or using public transportation, and managing finances are the IADLs.

Think about the activities that your loved one needs help with and how long those take to complete on a daily basis. Then consider your care options–the two most popular are home and community-based care. Home care is a great option for people who want to remain in their homes; however, it can become very pricey as peoples’ care needs escalate. The other option is community-based care. For people that want to relocate or be around peers, assisted living and memory care communities are wonderful options, which can be much more affordable than home care. Whether you decide on home or community-based care, interview a couple agencies, caregivers, or communities. Narrow it down to a couple so that you’re comfortable selecting one if you need to make a decision quickly.

If you follow these steps that we’ve identified, you will have successfully controlled the things you can. Contact a Senior Advisor if you need help with your search. We can help you explore your options quickly and, if you’d like, at no charge to you.

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