It can be tough to know what to do as your parents get older. This is a situation you have probably never encountered before, and you likely feel stumped about what to do. However, it’s a must that you figure out their needs, understand the options available to them, and make decisions for them that will help them to have a better quality of life.
Below, we will take a look at 7 things you can do to better care for your elderly parents.
- Start By Assessing Your Parents Needs
Caring for elderly parents can be overwhelming because you won’t immediately know what needs to be done at first. It’s important you take a step back and understand what their needs are so they can live comfortably every day. You will want to consider the following key areas:
- Meal Prep
- Social interaction
- Cognitive health
- Medical needs
- Personal hygiene
- Family support
- Home safety
You should consider how much support they are getting in each of the above categories and how much help you think they’ll need to be safe and healthy. Ideally, you should have a special caregiving notebook that you can use to keep track of their needs and figure out any further help they may need.
- What Are Your Own Needs and Abilities?
You must now consider the place you are at in your own life if you’re going to take care of your aging parent or parents. Before you try to figure out a way you can help your parents all on your own, you need to consider what your own needs or abilities are. Be honest with yourself as you ask the following questions:
- Would you want to/be able to live with your parents?
- Does your health allow you to care for another person?
- Will you be able to visit regularly?
- Do you have the right type of personality to provide the care they will need?
- Will you be able to learn how to provide the care they need?
Of course, you want to do what’s right by your parents, but this doesn’t always mean doing things all on your own. You will still be a supporting and caring person even if you don’t do it all alone. An honest assessment will help you figure out what other services you might like to outsource so you can care for your parent. You do not want to burn out physically or emotionally.
- Try To Include Your Parent In The Process
It could be difficult to include your parents in the process depending on their mental capacity, but it could help them to keep some of their valuable independence. You should always try to involve your parent as much as possible when you’re planning for their care. Make sure you take your time and be prepared for them to resist at the start. Providing you work together, they’ll begin to see you as a member of their team rather than somebody who is trying to make unwanted changes to their life and routine. Start with a less intrusive approach and see how you go.
- Make Sure You Understand The Financial Situation
Caring for your elderly parent is always going to cost money. See if you can estimate any future fees so you can be prepared. You’ll need to consider medical care, their potential living situation, food, modifications to the home, and so on. This should give you an idea of whether they need financial/government help or not.
- Take Care Of Home Safety Basics
As your parents get older, they’ll likely need more hazards in the home to be addressed. The older they get, the less mobile they tend to be, and this can mean it’s easier for them to fall and hurt themselves. Taking preventative measures is key if you want your parent to stay independent for as long as they can. Installing one of the high-quality medical alert systems with reliable monitoring will ensure the appropriate action is taken should your parent fall and hurt themselves. You can also clear floors of chords and clutter, updating lighting so all rooms are bright, ensure all appliances work well and install grab bars in the bathroom. You can also look at one of the many home modification guides online if you need further suggestions.
- Ensure Communication Is Easy For You
Your elderly parent will need to find it easy to stay in touch with their loved ones, as well as easily call for help. Isolation and loneliness can have a negative impact on your parent’s overall health, so this is something you want to make sure doesn’t happen. A phone they are able to use with pre-programmed numbers could be a huge help.
- Know What Your Aging Care Options Are
Caring for your parent will still be overwhelming, whatever the circumstances. You should explore all aging care options available to you so you can figure out the best course of action to take. Below is just a handful of ideas of what may be available to you:
- In-home caregiving help – take care of seniors in their homes.
- Geriatric care managers – they can act as consultants to guide you or they can manage all aspects of caring for your parent.
- Assisted living communities – if your parent isn’t able to live on their own or needs 24/7 care, assisted living and other senior housing options might be the best idea.
There may be other options available for your parent depending on where they live and what help they need. This is why doing your own research is crucial!
Hopefully, the above 7 suggestions have helped you to figure out a better way to care for your elderly parents. This time in your life can be hard, but you can make it better by knowing your parent's needs, your own needs, including them, taking finances into account, and doing the other things mentioned here. Do you have any suggestions that could help? Leave a comment.
Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person, although it does not define her these are roles that are important to her. From empty nesters to living with our oldest and 2 grandchildren while our house is rebuilt after a house fire in 10/2018 my life is something new each day.