Your parents have made it clear they want to age at home. That's best for everyone. You want them to be happy and enjoy their lives as they age. You can't ignore their changing abilities. So, how often should you reexamine their goals?
Immediately After a Health Issue
Readdress their care needs immediately after a fall or sudden illness. If your mom or dad has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, it's also important to readdress their care needs. Their need for help isn't something to put off.
Your dad came down with the flu and had to go to the hospital after it developed into pneumonia. He's going to need someone helping out at home until he's fully recovered and has his energy back. That may mean weeks of needing help with housework, laundry, and meals.
Another time when it's essential to talk about having more help is after a fall. Your mom fell on the stairs while going down to the laundry room. She couldn't get to a phone, so she was on the floor until your sister arrived to cook dinner later that day. That's not ideal and needs to be addressed.
At Least Twice a Year
Even if they seem to be healthy, it's important to talk about their need for assistance from others a couple of times a year. They may seem fine to you, but situations can change.
Your dad doesn't feel confident driving anymore. He just isn't sure how to bring it up. He ends up crashing his car into the mailbox when backing up. The car only has scratches, but you worry that he could hit someone if you don't take away his keys.
Your mom's wrists ache when she tries to lift heavier items. Rather than cook full meals, she's taken to opening cans of soup or heating a frozen dinner. She knows they're not the healthiest option, but she can't figure out a better way. She needs someone to help with meals.
Make Arrangements for Home Care
Once you've reexamined their goals, sit down for a family discussion about home care. As the demand for help increases, it's often hard for family members to cover all needed hours.
If your parents cannot do things independently, home care is the best way to lend the hand they need without taking away their independence or desire to stay in their current home. Call an agency to learn more about local home care services.