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It has been said that eventually all children will have to deal with the inevitable responsibility of having to take care of their parents in their old age (Wicclair, 1990). In regard to this, Wicclair (1990) states that “while there are no codified laws specifically stating this, it is categorized more along the lines of an ethical and moral responsibility that all children have to adhere to” (Wicclair, 1990).
What must be understood is that taking care of the elderly brings with it specific challenges in financial, health and service planning that need to be undertaken in order to successfully undertake the task of caring for aging adults.
Davis (1993) in his article, “Caring for the Elderly”, brings up 4 specific points that he states need to be addressed when taking care of the elderly, namely: the financial status of the parents that need to be cared for, whether they have enough money to sustain themselves well into old age, what specific health requirements do they need in light of their deteriorating physical status and whether they require special services at home or in an institution due to their enfeebled physical condition (Davis, 1993).
It is due to factors such as these that the importance of proper care planning for when the inevitable does occur becomes particularly significant and as such becomes a requirement for any conceivable measure of caring for one’s aging parents. As such this paper will explore the various factors that need to be taken into consideration for proper care planning and what the individual requirements of each factor will be.
What must first be taken into account when creating any plan for caring for elderly parents is the inherent state of their finances. The extent for any plan for assisted care is limited by the state of its finances since daily living expenses, the price of medication, utilities and other such costs must come from somewhere.
While most individuals do have retirement packages built up over several years the fact remains that such packages are at times limited. Due to this an examination must be conducted to see whether the amount of income coming from social security, investments and other forms of alternative income are sufficient to meet the needs of parents well into their 80’s and beyond.
The fact is most individuals are living much longer lives as they did 50 or 60 years ago, unfortunately the current state of social security has not improved significantly since that time resulting in some individuals living well beyond what social security can provide based on the amount of money put into the system.
Glynn (1996) states that “while there are alternative forms of income such as various forms of retirement packages the fact remains that factors related to inflation, economic recession and currency devaluation results in such packages becoming worth less and less as various necessities become more expensive” (Glynn, 1996).
As such these forms of income should not be considered a reliable form of income until it has been determined that they will last well beyond the expected life time of a person’s elderly parents. If such finances have been determined as being insufficient alternative means of financing cared assistance will need to be obtained till such a time that both parents are already deceased (Glynn, 1996).
When creating any plan related to long term care what must also be taken into consideration are possible health requirements as needed by a person’s elderly parents. Various individuals when they grow older develop various forms of disabilities and bodily deteriorations that entail certain medical requirements or observation in order to ensure that they don’t get worse.
Jonasson et al. (2010) in his examination of the ethical considerations of caring for the elderly states that “in order to properly care for one’s parents this entails either having your parent’s move in with you in order to keep a closer eye on them or ensure that they receive proper medical treatment through the use of a retirement or medical care facility that specializes in caring for the elderly” (Jonasson et. al, 2010).
What must be understood is that in certain cases involving highly sensitive individuals it becomes an almost daily necessity to ensure that they are doing well or rush them immediately to a proper care facility when complications occur (Churchill, 2008).
Since most individuals are busy with their own careers, personal lives and families it is often the case that proper medical care facilities or medical health requirements become necessary in any plan involving long term care health and support (Jonasson et. al, 2010).
In his examination of long term care for the elderly Nay (1998) points out that assisted living services in the form of care givers is actually a growing industry within the U.S. and is actually well established in countries such as Japan and Europe due to their current aging populations (Nay, 1998). Such services present an alternative to individuals who are either too busy or unwilling to directly care for their aging parents.
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When creating any plan for future care and support what must be taken into consideration is up to what point are a person’s parents able to take care themselves until it comes to a point where they are in effective unable to proper do daily tasks due to physical deterioration (Nay, 1998).
In such cases either a nursing home or a daily caregiver services should be incorporated into any future plans if a person is either unwilling or incapable of assisting their elderly parents on a daily basis.
Based on what has been presented it can be seen that any plan for caring for elderly parents must take into account aspects of financial planning, health requirements and potential services to be utilized in order to be created effectively.
Furthermore, as it can be seen any subsequent form of care is inherently dependent upon the amount of finances available and as such in order to create a truly effective long term care plan from financial backing must be firmly established and created in order to ensure healthcare and various services continue to be given until the point of death.
Churchill, N. (2008). Who needs care the most?. New Statesman, 137(4883), 30. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Davis, B. (1993). Caring for the frail elderly: An international perspective. Generations, 17(4), 51. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Glynn, K. P. (1996). Can we still earn a living caring for sick people?. Physician Executive, 22(8), 16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Jonasson, L., Liss, P., Westerlind, B., & Berterö, C. (2010). Ethical values in caring encounters on a geriatric ward from the next of kin’s perspective: An interview study. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 16(1), 20-26.
Nay, R. (1998). Contradictions between perceptions and practices of caring in long-term care of elderly people. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 7(5), 401-408. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Wicclair, M. R. (1990). Caring for Frail Elderly Parents: Past Parental Sacrifices and the Obligations of Adult Children. Social Theory & Practice, 16(2), 163-189. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.