aging parent checklist for aging in place

Does your parent say they never want to go to a nursing home?
Have you heard them swear they’ll always stay in their home, no matter what?

We at EasyLiving and Aging Wisely believe in supporting elders to live the life they want. However, we emphasize that it takes planning and a grounding in reality to ensure one’s wishes are carried out as desired. Simply making statements such as those above without doing any research and planning is a big mistake. That’s the best way to ensure what you want doesn’t happen.

When you’re trying to help your aging parent, consider the important issues that need to be reviewed in order to ensure safe aging in place. To help you out, we’ve provided our:

Ultimate Aging Parent Checklist for Aging in Place

√   Clear the way for safe living at home. Falls are the #1 cause of injury (and resulting fatalities) in older adults. A fall often precipitates a downward spiral, which may lead to nursing home placement. It is easy to modify the environment to make sure it does not contribute to fall risk. Get our Falls Prevention Checklist or take advantage of our free home visit to get started today.

√  Plan for the ideal, be prepared for the worst. First, start with identifying what ideal is for your aging parent. Discuss wishes and then do some research to understand the reality. What types of services and support might your loved one need and how can you access it (i.e. are there programs available, how can family members help, what costs are involved)? What might happen in different scenarios? In order to be prepared: find out about/execute necessary legal documents (Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate, Living Will), explore services available in your parent’s area, and organize vital information (medical history, key contacts, locations of important documents).

√  Make a plan for ongoing assessment. How will you know things are still going well? If you are a long-distance caregiver this can be especially challenging, as your parent may rally for your visits and things can change quickly. We recommend getting a baseline Professional Geriatric Care Management Assessment and then scheduling regular reviews (planning periodic family calls and visits and having an updated review by the care manager). Hiring a home caregiver to help with some tasks can be a great way to have another set of eyes and ears checking in regularly. Planning a visit to see Mom? Get our Caregiver Visit Checklist and other eldercare resources.

√  Be an advocate for preventative healthcare. Help ensure your aging parent has a good primary care physician that takes the time to evaluate how your parent is doing and encourages preventative screenings. Medicare covers many preventative healthcare services at 100%. You may want to help your loved one put together a medical history/file to help with communication between providers. Or, you may want to consider attending appointments (or having a professional advocate do so), if your parent is willing. Your Mom or Dad can also complete a form with their healthcare provider permitting information to be shared with you if they wish. Identifying issues early is vital. Medications are particularly problematic for many older adults, so ask providers to review medications (and determine how well he/she is managing medications and if help is needed).

We call this the ultimate aging parent checklist because we have boiled it down to the essentials for aging in place. These are the basics for aging in place and addressing the common pitfalls. We offer numerous resources and checklists on our EasyLiving resources page, as well as on our Aging Wisely site. We encourage you to sign up for our newsletter below, or contact us anytime at 727-447-5845.