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6 Tips on Caring for an Aging Parent

If you are caring for an aging parent, chances are you are going to have to make some difficult medical decisions about his or her medical care. There are some things you can do to ease the burden of having conflicts about which direction to go.

  1. If you have siblings, it’s important to reach a point of mutual respect and agreement about the decision making. You must be willing to compromise on deciding what is best for your parent.

  2. Remember that you and your siblings may have different perspectives, and although you may see things differently, all of you have the same goal, that of doing what is best for your parent. By settling differences amicably, you will avoid long term harm to your relationships.

  3. To avoid having to make decisions in an emergency situation, have a heart to heart early on with your parents to learn of their wishes and how they feel, especially if there are going to be long term medical care issues.

  4. If you know that family conversations will be difficult, try to enlist someone outside the family to help talk through the difficult or contentious areas. Talking with a religious advisor could be helpful if you feel connected to a faith tradition; social workers or chaplains can also be resources.

  5. Don’t try to do everything on your own. Reach out to others who have experience and expertise in the areas you do not, such as what kind of medical treatment they might need and the long term impact on both your parents and your family.

  6. Communication can keep you from having to deal with stubbornness and roadblocks. Keep all the avenues of communication open and it will make decision making much easier over all.

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