News & Resources: Blog

Assisting Your Parents with Their Daily Needs

Published: November 10, 2022

Have you ever wondered if a loved one is no longer safe living independently perhaps because of physical or mental challenges or maybe they just feel lonely? They may neglect important daily living activities that can lead to a downward spiral of malnutrition, injuries, depression, or illness. Many adult children visit their parents (or aunts and uncles) and notice a lack of food, a dangerous home environment, or problems with hygiene. These issues can be embarrassing for the seniors, who may avoid discussing them. They may also worry that it means you will insist on moving them into an assisted living or nursing home facility.

Sometimes a residential facility is the best solution, but it isn’t the only solution. You might also consider having in-home care or having them live with you so you can be their caretaker. Let’s explore some different scenarios.

Nursing Home Facilities

Ted was in his eighties when his wife died. He cooked and cared for himself at home until he fell and needed physical rehabilitation. After recovering physically, he could have moved back home, but his children realized that his house was in an isolated area and required too much driving. They convinced him to try a residential facility with social opportunities and ride services. He lived there happily for years, never needing nursing care.

However, residential facilities also come with all levels of care and support for future needs. Ted could retain as much independence as he wanted. He cooked in his own kitchen and occasionally drove places himself. As additional aging issues came up, he did not need to move. Instead, a nurse began checking in on him daily to ensure that all was well. Routine checks saved his life later when he had a stroke.

In-Home Care

Joan and Margaret’s mother had a different situation. She used home delivery services for food, and her neighbors were her best friends. The church community came by and took her to potlucks and other social events. Joan and Margaret felt that having their mother leave the comfort of her home and neighborhood would have been devastating. Yet, she started needing help getting out of bed and in and out of the shower. Joan, Margaret, and their mom looked for ways to get her the help she needed and allow her to stay at home with a combination of part-time in-home health services. They all felt better when they hired someone to provide three hours per day of meal preparation, cleaning, and other light duties.

Doing the Right Thing for Both of You

Amelia invited her mother to live with her, which seemed like the most loving and practical solution. But after a year, they discovered they both needed more privacy and were bickering. Amelia and her mom decided that their living arrangement would work better with a few adjustments. Amelia hired a ride service to take her mom to a senior center every other day. Her mom played cards, ate lunch, and took exercise classes. One weekend a month, Amelia’s brother visited, and Amelia went away. These adjustments improved their relationship when they were together.

Every situation is different; what works one year may not be the best solution for the following year. As you consider the best options, remember to include your loved one in the process. Assess what level of care they need, including their social-emotional needs.

Hiring Skilled and Non-Skilled Care

Companions can provide social interaction and help with housekeeping, errands, meal preparation, and medication supervision. Personal care aides provide hands-on assistance with personal hygiene, dressing, and moving to different rooms. Licensed or registered nurses can provide skilled medical care. In-home care is available even to those with advanced needs.

If you decide to hire a companion or skilled nurse, consider whether you want to go through an agency or hire an individual directly. Agencies provide you with some protection. They run background checks and offer backup care when the caregiver gets sick or takes days off. They also handle payroll taxes and carry liability and worker’s compensation insurance.

Whether interviewing an agency or individual, ask about licenses and training (especially if dementia is an issue), and past experience. Call references and conduct personal interviews.

As care needs evolve, explore different solutions. Each one will come with costs. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of insurance, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits for potential long-term care needs. We can also review all legal documents to ensure they are up to date. If you have questions or would like to discuss your legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 215-364-1111 to schedule a consultation.

CLIENT Testimonial

This question is asked all the time: “Wouldn't it be easier to get a will off the internet, transfer my land when I die, and put my children on my bank account?” It’s just not a good idea. For the plan to work as you would want it to, it should account for plenty of complications. A good plan should protect your spouse and your children from the loss of valuable government benefits if anybody is or becomes disabled. The plan should avoid the delay and expense of probate court. The plan should protect money from children’s creditors or divorce or remarriage. It should be crafted to serve family harmony and to avoid disputes between children as joint owners. Even a relatively simple situation is made up of many moving parts. Internet documents and joint-ownership devices just won’t do the job.

Also, assembling the moving parts so they work smoothly is just the first step. Your estate plan needs maintenance too, just like your car has a “check engine” light. Major family events like serious illness or death, marriage, birth, or financial reversals are alerts that you should tune up your plan to reflect those changes. Your plan shouldn’t be “one and done.”

It takes expertise to coordinate the various strategies available. Don’t risk a result that will cause your family problems and unnecessary expense. Call us to create a plan that harmonizes the moving parts, so the gears will work together and you will leave the legacy you intended. We hope you found this article helpful. If you have questions or would like to discuss your legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 215-364-1111 to schedule a consultation.

- Creating an Estate Plan On Your Own: Think Twice

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CLIENT Testimonial

Scott Bloom is one of the most caring, responsive, elder law attorney you can find in central New Jersey. He has been a great support not only for my parents but also for me and my siblings. We are deeply grateful for everything he has done over the past 3 years. I am thankful ever day that he came into our lives. In the past year, we lost our father to the terrible disease of dementia, but we are relieved to know that our mother is still in good hands with Scott by her side. Our entire family highly recommends Scott Bloom and his team!
- Annette B., Allentown, New Jersey