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Many Adult Children Unprepared to Help Seniors Parents in Need

The USA Today published a story this week on the challenges faced by many adult children whose elderly parents suffer sudden medical setbacks. Each Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm has worked with adult children who have been forced to deal with these issues. It is helpful for those who may be forced to act as a caregiver down the road to be aware of these issues of ahead of time, so that steps can be taken to make the process easier when necessary.

The article shared the story of one woman whose eighty-three year old mother had a sudden stroke, leaving her paralyzed and in need of close care. The woman’s eighty-three year old father was still alive but he was also in a frail condition and unable to provide the support that his wife needed.

What was the daughter to do?

The hospital suggested that the elderly women be admitted to a nursing home where caregivers would be able to provide the support she needed around the clock. The daughter did not want to split up the family, and so she made the choice to hire a full-time live-in caregiver. She reports that she was happy to have the help but, because of costs, she may have to move in with her parents on her own in the future. If she did so, the woman wouldn’t be alone. More than 100 million Americans provide full or part time help to elderly parents, according to the AARP. Providing that care is not easy, and the organization also provided a few tips for those who are or may act as a caregiver for an aging parent in the future:

1) Be sure that legal documents are in place so that others have the power to provide. Having a power of attorney, living will, and health care proxy drawn up can prove invaluable in cutting through the red tape to allow adult children to make important decisions for parents down the road.

2) Avoid burnout. While adult children often try to do everything to help their elderly parents, it is vital for the caregiver not to forget to take care of their own health and well-being. Data from MetLife suggests that over 20% of female caregivers over the age of fifty reports symptoms of depression.

3) Conduct nursing home planning ahead of time, even if there are no immediate plans to move a senior into an assisted living facility. The chances of choosing a poor home and increasing the risk of your loved one suffering from nursing home neglect rises significantly if the choice is made in emergency situations. Planning ahead can allow families to make better choices even if there is little time to spare.

Even with the best of intentions, many families are in situations where nursing home care is the best option to ensure their loved ones well-being. In those cases, our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys urge families to remain vigilant about the caregiving process. Unfortunately, one cannot make the assumption that a senior is being treated well because they are in a long-term care facility. Questions should be asked and all suspicions should be investigated to ensure mistreatment is caught as early as possible.

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