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One Daughter's Story:
Caring for a Parent in my Home
By Kristine Dwyer, LSW, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 3)

Arrange for a family meeting either by conference calls or in person to discuss the care needs of parents, home care or housing options and how each family member can assist with the identified needs. A caregiver consultant or social worker may be used as a group mediator. It is strongly suggested that this meeting occur prior to a health crisis, especially with large families, to promote communication, maximize care-planning options and minimize stress.

Include parents in the planning and decision-making process as much as possible. Encourage parents to begin their own life planning as a “gift” to the family before they are no longer able to make personal or legal decisions.

Seek support from community resources such as caregiver consultants, geriatric social workers, senior outreach programs, respite care programs, medical professionals or Area Agencies on Aging. Start with the Yellow Pages, do an Internet search or contact the local social service office.

Inquire about a trial or short-term stay at an assisted living facility if your parent refuses to consider a permanent residency. Some people hesitate to move because they think they will lose their independence, when they often find the opposite to be true.

Discuss legal affairs and pre-plan if possible. This includes choosing an executor of the estate, completing wills and power of attorney, and preparing a health care directive, making property decisions (homestead, land, auto, etc.), financial planning (who will be named on parent’s accounts) and even funeral pre-planning.

Caregiving does not have to be done alone and asking for help is encouraged. Keep your own mental and physical health needs a priority. Understand that caregiving decisions are never easy and that your initial intentions and plans to provide care may need to change. Finally, give yourself credit for seeking options and attempting to provide the very best care and support for your parents.


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