Caring for the ones who cared for you
Our parents might not want to admit it, but as they get older, they might need more help taking care of their home, getting around town, and managing their health. It can be a challenge navigating this stage of life and figuring out how to best support them in a way they’re also comfortable with.
Fresh on the heels of National Parents Day, there’s no better time to start planning how to help your parents as they age, especially if they don’t require around-the-clock care but still need some kind of assistance.
AARP offers some tips for those of us stepping in to help care for our parents for the first time, and we have some suggestions for managing health information with Kith + Kin to confidently plan for and navigate this stage of life with everyone involved:
1. Start the conversation. Talk to your parents about their plans and preferences for everything from health to finances. Make notes of your conversation in Kith + Kin and share them with your parents so you can all reflect and add to them.
- These conversations can be emotional, and you might need to have several discussions to address all the relevant information. Having the notes accessible by everyone involved can make it easier to communicate at times when emotions aren’t running high, and allows you or your parents to conveniently add information whenever you remember a question or they think of other details to share.
- 2. Form a team and get them engaged. You might have siblings, in-laws, other family and friends who want and are able to support you and your parents. Remember, your parents are part of their own team too.
- In Kith + Kin, you can share some information with some people and other information with other people, so you’re always in control of the information, whether it’s a medication schedule, details of an illness, emergency instructions or anything else. Because you’re in control of the information, you can change anyone’s level of access as caring roles evolve.
3. Make a plan. Go back to your notes about your parents wants and wishes, and consider what you can realistically do and where your team can step in. Document your plan so that everyone is aware of it, including your parents.
Because your plan will likely evolve and needs will change, maintaining your plan in Kith + Kin gives you the flexibility to update any or all of it at any time.
4. Care for your parent(s). “Care” might look like prepping meals for the week, organizing medication, or even making sure all their appointments are on the calendar.
- Use Kith + Kin to make notes about what was done and what’s needed next time. It’s a great way to keep everyone in the loop without the chaos of text messages, phone calls or emails to update your people.
5. Care for yourself. Burnout is real, and it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re spending most of your physical and emotional energy on care tasks. Make sure you’re making time for yourself to eat and sleep well, exercise and do the activities you enjoy.
Kith + Kin is a great tool to help you share the mental, emotional and sometimes physical labor of caring. And when you need to take a break, you can ask for help more easily because all the necessary information is already in one place so someone else can pick up where you left off.
We know stepping into a role of caring for your parents can be a big shift for you and for them, so it’s important to have these conversations and make plans together. Having the right tools can make the process more organized and manageable, even when things feel chaotic.
You’ve got this, and we’ve got you.
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