Aging is an inevitable part of our life. And as our parents age, they will need more care and assistance from us. Adult children frequently discover that they are left with caregiving duties when their parents age. Even if parents are in good health, their demands will alter over time and they will eventually require outside assistance.
There are several questions you’ll want to answer at that point. Should you provide in-home care for your aging parents? Do you need to bring them home with you? Is investing in a retirement community a wise choice?
Here are some tips on how you can take care of your aging parents at your home or their home.
Look After Your Elderly Parents at Your Home
1. Understand How Much Care Your Parents Need
Finding out how much care your elderly parents actually requires is the first step. Understanding how much assistance is required throughout the day, at night, and on weekends can be learned by making a list of daily, weekly, and monthly care responsibilities. Once you know what is required, you can more easily make a decision on whether or not you’re able to provide all the care they need.
2. Consider Getting Help With Caregiving
If you’re the only child or if your siblings live too far away, you may feel like you have to do it all yourself. However, that’s not always the best solution. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there are many ways to get help, whether it’s hiring professional caregivers, asking other family members or friends for assistance, or joining a support group.
3. Arrange Your Schedule
The first thing you need to do is arrange your schedule so that you can take care of your parents. This may mean making some changes to your work schedule or taking on more responsibilities at home. If you have young children, you may need to arrange for childcare so that you can focus on caring for your parents. You should also plan for times when you will need a break from caregiving. Arrange for respite care or hire a professional caregiver to give yourself a break.
4. Keep Them Safe
One of your main concerns will be keeping your parents safe. This may mean making some changes to your home, such as installing handrails in the bathroom or adding grab bars in the shower. You may also need to remove tripping hazards from your home and make sure that there are no loose carpets or rugs.
If your parents are on medication, you will need to make sure that they take their medication as prescribed and that they do not miss any doses. You should also create a list of emergency contacts and keep it in a place where you can easily find it.
5. Take Them As Your Priority
As your parents age, they will need more of your time and attention. This may mean that you have to cancel plans or miss out on social activities. It is important to make your parents a priority and to put their needs before your own. Remember, they took care of you when you were younger and now it is your turn to take care of them.
6. Communicate With Them
As your parents age, their ability to communicate may change. They may become hard of hearing or they may have trouble remember things. It is important to be patient with your parents and to take the time to communicate with them. This may mean speaking slowly and clearly or writing things down for them. You should also ask them questions and give them time to answer.
7. Make Their Life Comfortable
One of your goals should be to make your parents as comfortable as possible. This may mean buying them a new bed or getting them a wheelchair. It may also mean making sure that they have all the supplies they need, such as food, clothes, and personal hygiene items.
8. Prepare Your Parents for Change
If you are taking care of your parents at your home, do everything you can to help them adjust to their new environment, from their own home to your home. Have direct discussions with them about your expectations as well as theirs. Can they come and leave whenever they want? Do they require help with something crucial? Before they move in, talk about these issues so that both you and your parents can adjust more easily.
Look After Your Elderly Parents at Their Home
1. Monitor Your Parents’ Needs
It is also understood if you are caring for them in their own homes because you have your own life or your parents prefer to stay in their home. However, most things they’ll rely on you to handle their tasks, do errands, and keep them company.
Since you won’t be always watching over them, it’s crucial to monitor how much assistance they require when you are around. You’ll be able to gauge how much assistance your parents need when you keep an eye on their activities of daily living (ADLs), also known as daily self-care activities. A few typical ADLs to be aware of are:
- cooking and meal preparation
- Cleaning and maintaining the home, purchasing necessities, and doing laundry
- Using the Phone or Other Devices to Communicate
- Functional Mobility (Bathing, Showering, Toileting, Transferring in and out of a bed or chair)
- Personal Hygiene(brushing, shaving, styling hair)
If you notice that your parents need more help with any of these activities, it may be time to talk about getting them more assistance, either from you or from a professional caregiver. You can consider ask them move to your house, or get a home health aid to help with some of these tasks.
Taking care of your parents at their home will be a lot easier if your parents can handle all of these tasks on their own.
2. Make Sure Their Home Is Safe
As our parents age, they become more susceptible to falls and other accidents. It’s important to make sure their home is safe by removing any potential hazards, such as loose carpets or electrical cords. You may also want to install grab bars in the bathroom and safety
You should also consider your own personal circumstances when making a decision on whether or not to take care of your parents at your home.
3. Create a Support System
No matter how much care you think you can provide on your own, it’s important to have a solid support system in place. This might include family members, friends, or paid caregivers. Remember, it’s hard for you to do this all.
4. Ask Relatives to Help
Although you care about your parents, it can be difficult to find time to see them when you are caring for them in their own homes. So, if you can’t check on your parents yourself, ask your family members and close friends to do so. It will help you relax and lessen some of the stress you’re under.
5. Encourage Them to Be Active
It is important to encourage your parents to be active and engaged, even as they age. This may mean helping them to find activities that they enjoy and that are appropriate for their level of fitness. You can also help them by being active with them. Go for walks together, play games, or just spend time talking.
6. Make Sure They Eat Healthy Meals
As our parents age, they may not be able to cook for themselves as they once did. This means that it is up to you to make sure that they are eating healthy meals. If possible, cook meals in advance and freeze them so that they are easy to reheat. You can also make sure that there are plenty of healthy snacks available.
7. Help Them Stay Connected
One of the most important things you can do for your aging parents is to help them stay connected with the world. This may mean helping them to use technology, such as social media or video calling. It can also mean helping them to stay connected with their friends and family. Encourage them to attend social events and to stay involved in activities that they enjoy.
Calculate the Costs Involved in Keeping Parents in Their Home or Your Home
Even though your parents would want to age in their place, you must make sure that your family can afford it. Can your parents afford a house’s cost? Can you tackle the projects and repairs the old house they live in? When caring for aging parents at their home, these are crucial inquiries to make, and you may need to meet with a financial advisor to go through the specifics.
On the other hand, if you’re considering taking your parents in your own home, there are a few things you’ll need to take into account as well. These include:
- Your mortgage or rent payments
- The cost of food and utilities for another person
- Home maintenance and repairs that may come up
- Any medical expenses your parents may have
- The cost of transportation, if you need to take your parents to doctor’s appointments or run errands for them
You should also think about how this will affect your own life. Can you afford to take on another person’s expenses? Do you have the time to care for another person? Are you prepared to make compromises in your own life to make room for your parents?
Think About Putting Your Elderly Parent In A Retirement Community
Even if your parents want to age in place, there may come a time when it’s no longer possible for them to do so. If their health deteriorates or they can no longer take care of themselves, you may need to consider other options, such as a retirement community.
A retirement community is a type of housing designed for older adults who are able to live independently. In most cases, retirement communities provide residents with amenities, social activities, and access to care services. This can make it a good option for people who want to downsize or don’t want to live alone.
If you’re considering a retirement community for your parents, there are a few things you’ll need to take into account. These include:
- The cost of the community
- The type of care services that are available
- The location of the community
- The amenities that are offered
You’ll also need to think about whether your parents will be able to adjust to living in a retirement community. For some people, the thought of living in close proximity to other people can be daunting. Others may find the social activities and amenities to be appealing. Ultimately, it’s important to choose a community that your parents will be happy with.
Get Professional Help
If you’re struggling to care for your parents on your own, don’t be afraid to get help from a professional. There are a number of caregiving services that can assist you with the tasks of caring for your parents. These include:
Home health aides: Home health aides can help with tasks like bathing, dressing, and grooming. They can also provide companionship and help with light housekeeping tasks.
Nurses: Nurses can provide medical care and support. They can also help with tasks like wound care and giving injections.
Therapists: Therapists can provide emotional support and help with coping strategies. They can also help with communication and problem-solving.
Care managers: Care managers are professionals who can help you coordinate your parents’ care. They can also provide support and guidance on caregiving.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of resources that can help you find caregiving services in your area. These include:
- Your local Area Agency on Aging
- Your parents’ doctor or other healthcare provider
- The Eldercare locator
- Home care agencies
Taking care of elderly parents can be a challenge, but it’s important to do what’s best for them. If you’re struggling to care for your parents on your own, don’t hesitate to get help from a professional. There are a number of caregiving services that can assist you with the tasks of caring for your parents.
Caring for aging parents can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for the challenges that come with it. By understanding your parents’ needs and being honest about your own capabilities, you can make sure that everyone is comfortable and safe.