Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Care for Aging Parents

Guest writer: Alice Kalso


Remember Dr. Benjamin Spock, the child-raising guru?  When baby wouldn't stop crying, we went to Dr. Spock's tome, "Baby and Child Care." Ditto when potty training drained all our energy.

Now many of us care for our aging parents.  The issues are daunting:  medical, legal, financial, and relational.  One great book that covers these issues is Virginia Morris' "How to Care For Aging Parents."

Although the second edition was published in 2004, its main tenets are still true today. Morris' tone is loving, respectful and practical as she sprinkles anecdotes of real-life situations throughout the book to drive various points home.

"Be Prepared" seems to be Morris' mantra.  She advises, "The most important thing you can do for your aging parent and for yourself is this:  Be prepared for what might come." 

Specifically, she says:  If your parent's arthritis is worsening, talk with him about what he might do if he can't manage alone. 

If your mother has Alzheimer’s, talk about her wishes for her future and where she will live once the disease has advanced.  And start making plans. 

Morris tackles difficult subjects including dealing with guilt, sibling conflicts, getting Power of Attorney, caregiving from a distance, an explanation of hospice and more.  She even includes a chapter on funeral preparations, and another, for Boomers, on preparing to grow old.

Morris advises adult children and others involved in the care of elders to resist reading the whole book from start to finish. Instead, she encourages readers to use various chapters as needed.

This book is a great reference book for those times when caring for your aging parent has drained your energy, and you don't know where to turn.

Have you found a resource book to help you with your aging parent?

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