Create an Emergency Response Plan for Aging Parents
This may be one of the toughest talks to have with your aging parents, but it’s important to sit down and discuss their life goals openly and honestly. Know what your parents would like done in an emergency medical situation. Discuss “what if” situations with them, like, what if Dad has a stroke and isn’t physically able to care for himself? or what if Mom falls down and can’t call for help? These are not the most comfortable questions, but they are necessary so that your parents can communicate with you what they want. This way, if anything happens, you will have a plan in place and you will feel more comfortable knowing you are doing exactly what your parents wanted. Have your parents create a living will and put it on file with the local hospitals. Some states, like Montana, have advanced healthcare directives online that you can file once, and they will provide it to all that state’s hospitals.
Create an emergency list of names and phone numbers and put them in your parent’s cell phone, or, if they have a landline, place it within reach. Should anything happen and they need to call for help, make sure they know the shortcut on their phones for dialing 911 (many cell phones have a built-in emergency button on the lock screen). If your parents are elderly and need care, consider hiring a nurse or caretaker to check in on them, or make a plan for you or close friends and family to check in on them daily. If your parents have a history of falling, consider purchasing them a medical alert system so they never have to suffer for a long time alone.