Becoming the parent.

It’s a bumpy ride.

Your parents, who were once the sharpest and most put together people you knew, are going to one day become your responsibility and you will have to look after them. Here’s what to do now, and later, if and when you find yourself in the position to have to care for those who cared for you.


A shitty conversation to have, but they need to have a voice in how they live their lives, and more importantly, what they really want toward the end. Get past the crappiness of this conversation and just have it.


Know what insurance they have, what their social security numbers are, and where copies of their documents (wills, living wills, advance directives, etc) are. Make sure you or another member of you family is their Power of Attorney both for medical and financial designations (two separate documents, make sure you have both scanned and signed). Needless to say if they don’t have these things, they need them. So do you.


If you find yourself in a situation where you have to care for your parents suddenly, be organized. Get a notepad and paper or open a note on your phone. Keep questions at the ready and start a spreadsheet of whom is helping your parent when.


If you’re not the most assertive or aggressive member of your family, I’d definitely get that person on board to take this on and delegate tasks to everyone else if that’s an option. Whomever is going to take on the care of a loved one needs to be tenacious, polite, professional, and organized. I remember spending up to 6 hours a day trying to get through to her doctors, caregivers, and long term care insurance. Not to mention documenting each call, email and office visit. Things take time and you have to be patient but follow up and be proactive.

The people in the Senior Care business are usually underpaid, overworked and unappreciated. Don’t forget they do a hard job and should be treated kindly.

That said, there are your shares of mooches and people who will try to benefit from your parent’s insurance plans. Screen people, step in if you need to and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. Keep notes on people and who they are, what they do, and what their role is in this whole game. Keep track of dates. A spreadsheet helps because you can write notes and reminders for follow up dates, doctors appointments, and contacts all in one place


Read, go for a walk, have a drink. Take a hot bath. Cry and process the change. It’s hard to deal with but even harder if you can’t be strong enough to handle it. Lean on others in your family for support. It’s never easy to see someone you once saw as a strong, capable adult become someone less than that, but it’s a reality we all need to deal with and prepare for. This is the time your parents will need you to be there for them. With preparation, perspective and support, you can get through this tough time together.


We all know when we will turn 50. Write a note for the day after to enroll in a long term insurance plan. 50 is when you are eligible to pay into a plan. I don’t care what plan you choose but do it. You’ll probably need it. The insurance game is just that: a game. A sad, sick, game. Double your odds by having extra protection.



Writing novice. Friend. Wife. Pet mom.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store