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As we enter our golden years, an unfortunate consequence of becoming grandparents is that our parents (if still alive) continue to age. Whether it’s physical or cognitive, we often start to notice some decline in their everyday behavior. Very few of us are equipped to handle this when it arises.

One of the more common occurrences in elderly people is a basic loss of balance, which can be extremely dangerous as it often leads to bad falls, often with serious injuries. 

When a parent starts to experience cognitive decline, they can struggle with hygiene and many of the daily activities we take for granted – getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or even eating. 

It’s important to recognize these changes and be as pro-active as possible regarding the next steps. There are many viable options available as our parents age; as much homework as you can do in advance will benefit the decisions need to be made.

Most elderly people prefer to stay home; it’s comfortable and familiar. As their abilities begin to decline, it’s advisable to get some in home care to assist, particularly with med management or assisting with light chores and their personal hygiene. 

Rob Stearns with his mom, who passed away due to dementia in 2021.

There are many reputable companies that provide these services; the average cost being $25-$28/hr. With the recent labor shortages and higher gas prices, be prepared to commit to at least 4 hours a day and 3-5 days per week.

The upkeep of a large home is a daunting task. This may lead a parent to consider a Senior Living community with Independent Living being the logical first stop. Most provide an array of amenities and social programs specifically tailored for seniors.

It is prudent to seek the assistance of a “Senior Living Advisor” to assist you in this search. They will be able to acquaint you with the various nuances of each community as to quality of ownership, average age, level of staff turnover, quality of care, food and even ease of parking. Finding the right fit where your parent can thrive is the ultimate objective. 

Should a parent’s health start to decline, it may be necessary to move them into assisted living. This will involve a care level with a staff that will look after your parent around the clock.  

If they experience a stroke or suffer from dementia or Parkinson’s, you may then have to consider Memory Care, which is a higher level of care with more staff and also involves a secured environment so they do not wander.

There are other options should their condition further decline, such as personal care homes or skilled nursing. Consult a family advisor for the best advice.

Cindy Richards

Cindy Richards is the founder of Best Nest Senior Advisors.

Rob Stearns

Rob Stearns is a family advisor for Best Nest Senior Advisors.