When to Help Your Parents With Health Care Planning

elderly couple planning on health insurance

As our parent's start to show the signs of old age, it's natural to worry about their health.
Are they able to look after themselves? Or do they need a helping hand?

If you do decide to go down the path of the caregiver, know that you're not alone. Around 10 million Americans over 50 years of age are currently involved in an active caretaker role for their parents.

But how can you know when to help by stepping in and offering a helping hand?

How to Know When to Help

Sometimes, the decline in health of a loved one is sudden, making it evident that it is time to enact some form of care. Oftentimes, however, such a decline is gradual and takes place over several years.

Warning signs can include extreme behavioral changes, a complete or partial loss of interest in hobbies, giving up on their social life, and cognitive issues such as forgetting to pay their bills.

What to Look Out for When You're Worried About their Health

Cognitive Impairments

Keep an eye out for indications of severe memory loss, unreasonable mistakes in their finances, and any unruly or out of character decision making.

The worst case scenario is these could be red flags of the onset of Alzheimers or dementia.
Regardless of whether you believe you're parents could be suffering from these diseases, it's crucial to take action quickly. Otherwise, they could come to undue financial or physical harm.

Hand-eye Coordination Issues

It's natural to loose coordination as we age, but the extent of the impairment and the activities your parents undertake could make them prone to potential harm.

One prominent example is driving. Eventually, elderly drivers will lose the necessary reflexes and reaction time to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Monitor their driving and if it appears dangerous, it's probably time to step in.

After all, their frailty means the elderly are 17 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than young or middle-aged adults.


It's normal for the elderly to suffer the occasional fall as their joints and balance begin to fail. However, although these events are usually minor, they can have devastating lifelong consequences as well.

If you're concerned about your parents suffering from a fall, it's wise to install household modifications which could improve safety such as handrails.

Having a safety plan in place such as a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) is a good idea as well.

Depression and a Loss of Social Life

These issues often exacerbate one another, causing a downward spiral.

Pain, incontinence, or other medical issues might be at the root cause of their depression. Addressing such issues could potentially lead to a positive change.

A rapid increase in frailty and other health issues

The onset of old age and chronic illness is inevitable. However, sometimes the process is expedited by a lack of adequate medical care.

Become actively engaged in your parent's health care to ensure they're not receiving unnecessary and burdensome treatments, nor that any potential issues have gone undiagnosed.

Nevertheless, in severe situations, it's important to discuss with your parent(s) the possibility of finding them some extra help.

Rowntree Gardens offer skilled nursing as well as independent and assisted living services to the elderly throughout their expansive Orange County community.

Deciding it's time to help

Although it may be painful, deciding when to help your parents in their twilight years is the right thing to do for their welfare.

Remember, they will still enjoy a high standard of living in an assisted living center and you will be able to visit them as often as you like.


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