You may at some time receive a call that one of your parents has just been diagnosed with an illness or condition that will permanently change their lifestyle.  Someone may have to step up to the plate, accepting some of the former responsibilities of the parent with declining health.

Take time to learn about the illness.  Consult with your own physician or your parent’s attending physician.  It is important to learn about the illness and its stages.  Reality can be painful, but it helps to prepare in order to prevent misunderstanding.

There may be a support group for this illness meeting in your community.  It is so helpful to have the support of others who are in similar circumstances.  Remain connected to friends and family for the needed emotional support.

Parents may require special assistance in their own houses such as hand rails in the bathroom or steps leaving the home.  Geriatric social workers may be able to offer suggestions regarding what is need in the future as well as immediate needs.

The illness may require your parents to consider living with you or in an assisted living facility.  Assisted living may allow your parents to experience some level of independence rather than prematurely turning to nursing homes.