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It is not uncommon to receive a call from an adult child concerned about a parent’s decreasing ability to care for him or herself. Circumstances often require assistance the child does not have the ability to provide.

A constant concern is the possibility of an aging senior falling. It only takes an instant to fall, and not even the most attentive child can completely protect a parent from this risk.

One third of seniors will fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors, and often lead to a new series of health issues. By age 75, a fall is four times more likely to result in admittance to a skilled nursing facility.

Sometimes the concern is not simply about diminishing physical abilities. Cognitive abilities can also decrease. Traumatic brain injuries can result from a fall. Mental incapacity can also result from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

Regardless, diminishing abilities can be terribly trying for the parent, who may not be willing to accept ever-increasing limitations. The stress for both the parent and the child can even affect the family relationship.

I am usually asked “what should I do?”   The answer usually starts with an honest, but respectful, determination of the parent’s abilities and limitations. In some cases, only a little assistance is necessary. In other cases, the parent may no longer be capable of meeting his or her own basic needs, or even be capable of making basic decisions.

Even if awkward, it is important to carefully consider an aged parent’s circumstances. I have seen well-meaning children shocked to find out their mother was malnourished and severely dehydrated. They were not at all ignoring her. They just did not realize she was not taking care of her own basic needs.

it is important to recognize when an aging parent may need help. Although the answers are not always easy, there are ways to assist parents in need.

Come to a free, no obligation presentation to find out how to protect vulnerable loved ones, and find out other simple solutions to protect your estate.