Aging parents

Adult children often serve as caregivers for aging parents. Are you prepared for the role?

Caregivers must monitor the health and independence of their aging parents. Start by evaluating the situation from a caregiver's perspective. Are your parents safe in their home? How well are your parents taking care of themselves? How are your parents' spirits? Are your parents having difficulty getting around? Talk with your parents if you have any concerns about their health or safety.

Caregivers must also be prepared for an emergency. Compile a list of your parents' doctors, allergies, medications, surgeries, insurance information and other important details. Discuss long-term care, living wills and advance directives.

Caregivers face many challenges. If necessary, seek help from other family members or local social service agencies.

Alzheimer's caregiver

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia might take more strength and patience than you ever imagined. Whether you've been a caregiver for years or you're just learning to cope with the disease, look to friends, family and community resources for support.

As you care for a person with Alzheimer's disease, consider practical strategies for communicating and keeping him or her safe. At the same time, understand that your challenges will likely grow as the end of life approaches. Consider ways to prepare for the tough choices ahead.

As a caregiver, it's also important to remember your own needs. Ask for help when you need it, and pay attention to warning signs of caregiver stress.

May 14, 2019