8 Essential Advice for Adult Children of Elderly Parents
Prepare for the day when your parents need your help
1. Keep an eye open for changes in your parents’ condition – When you notice deterioration in your parent’s functioning, whether physical or mental, please do not ignore these worrying signs! A geriatric physician will perform an evaluation to diagnose the problem, and suitable treatment can slow down the decline and allow you to prepare for the future.
2. Prepare for the future – It is advisable to prepare in the following areas:
· Your parent’s home surroundings – note accessibility and general suitability of the home, as well as how close it is to the adult children’s homes.
· Money matters – prepare to pay for nursing care for your parent, through a special savings account or nursing care insurance.
· Your parent’s bank account – at the right time, it is a good idea to consider becoming a partner in your parent’s bank account, or receive power of attorney from him. This will allow you to help him if he can no longer function independently.
3. Contact the municipal services – When a parent ages and begins to experience loneliness or hardship, get in touch with a social worker from the Service for the Elderly in the local authority’s welfare department. The social worker will help you arrange a support system for your parent, including: a senior’s club (moadon) or day center for the elderly, an emergency alarm button, supportive community services, volunteers who will visit him at home, benefits through the Long-Term Care Insurance Law of Bituach Leumi, meal delivery and more. Don’t forget to ask the social worker for information about the benefits and discounts your parent is entitled to.
4. Look for information about relevant organizations – Many nonprofit organizations offer assistance and support to specific populations: Holocaust survivors (Amcha/Aviv/Ela), people with Alzheimer’s (‘EMDA’), CVA victims (Na’aman), the visually impaired (Namag), the hearing impaired (Bekol), cancer patients (Israel Cancer Association) and others. It is worthwhile to ask for help from these organizations, as needed.
5. Help your parent take advantage of his right to rehabilitation – When, as a result of an unexpected incident, your parent is suddenly hospitalized and loses his independence, or if he has undergone a serious operation involving long-term hospitalization, make sure that he receives rehabilitation treatments to restore lost capabilities. Rehabilitation is provided either in a rehabilitation ward at a hospital, or at home through the health fund.
6. Get help at home – Home care is available through the Long-Term Care Insurance Law of Bituach Leumi, which provides a caregiver for a number of weekly hours. A person who needs full-time home care is eligible for a license to hire a foreign worker for 24 hours a day. To arrange this, get help from a social worker in the health fund, hospital, local welfare or social services department, or through a private nursing agency.
Medical treatment at home, which includes the visits of a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, social worker and occupational therapist, can be arranged through the health fund’s unit for continuing care. Guidance in adapting the home to the needs of a disabled person is also given by this unit. The Ministry of Health provides financial assistance for making changes in the home and acquiring daily living aids.
7. If you are looking for an appropriate facility for your parents – A retirement or nursing home is the right solution for a parent who wants it, or when various physical or financial difficulties make home care impracticable. Nursing homes differ in price, in cultural background and mainly in the functional level of their residents (people in need of total nursing care, mentally or physically frail, or independent). Make sure that the nursing home is under the supervision of either the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Welfare. You can also request financial assistance from these offices. Assistance is provided based on the income of both the parent and his children. For information about various homes, ask a social worker or a specializied Companies providing consultation and guidance regarding nursing homes , or look through relevant websites.
8. A source of support – A time will come in the life of your family when you will be needed as a source of support for your parents. Never forget, however, that your parent is an autonomous individual. You must respect his wishes and his right to choose the way he will live his life during these years.
For a database on services for the elderly in Israel click here
The information presented in the english website is partial. For full info please visit our hebrew website