A Guide on How to Care for Older Parents at Home

For as long as you can remember, your parents have been there to bring you up, support you, and provide guidance in everything you do. Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still, and as you get older, so do your parents. As they reach their senior years and retirement, their mobility may decline, resulting in them needing extra care. While many seniors are happy to live independently, health issues may get in the way, meaning they need round the clock care.

If you have the space, time, and resources to do so, you may want to take on the role of a caregiver for your elderly parent. Before this happens and to ensure you and your parents know where they stand, here is a guide on how to provide the best care possible for your loved ones.

Assess Their Needs

The most crucial step when taking care of an elderly parent is to establish how much care they require. You may make the mistake of taking on too much at the beginning, which can be hard to handle. To make sure your loved one is getting the treatment they need, there are several things you can do, such as creating a list of daily tasks, which should give you a good estimate of the type of care they need.

Assessing your elderly parents’ mental health and physical health, as well as speaking to their doctor is the best way forward. Once you have a better idea of what their needs are, you can determine whether you’re capable of being their caregiver for the foreseeable.

Be Realistic

When it comes to looking after an elderly parent, it’s normal that you will want to do everything in your power to keep them happy in their senior years. However, there may be tasks that you simply cannot perform on your own. For example, if your loved one needs to be lifted in and out of bed, you may not have the strength or energy to perform this task correctly.

Make sure that you’re realistic about how much support and care you can provide for your elderly parent. If you try and take on too much, you will burn out far quicker and your own health will be jeopardized. There are many challenges that are linked with being a caregiver for a senior, which is why you need to have a good think on whether it’s the right path to take.

Ask for Help

If you require additional help from others, don’t be afraid to reach out. There is no shame in needing extra support. You can’t do everything by yourself, which is why you can look into services in your area, like an adult day program that your parent can enroll on. This gives them the opportunity to socialize with others and provide a much-needed break for yourself. For example, Brandywine Living at Alexandria provides respite care which you can use when you need some time for yourself.

Having services that you can contact can make all the difference and ensure your elderly parent gets the best care possible. There is also the option to hire a caregiver who can step in and help around the house on a day-to-day basis. This means that you can keep on top of the housework while providing excellent care for your loved one.

Share the Load

Aside from obtaining help with caregiving duties, you must share the responsibility of looking after your elderly parent with a spouse, sibling, or close relative. If you need some time to rest and recuperate, your nearest and dearest should be willing to step in and take your place while you clear your mind. Caring for your elderly parent can take its toll emotionally and physically. And if you’re not in the right headspace, you may fall behind in your duty of care which could be detrimental to their health.

When sharing the load with others, make sure you’re flexible in your approach. We all work on different schedules, so you may find that a sibling cannot help you during the day due to work commitments. Therefore, sitting down with your family and discussing what each member can do will be a massive weight off your shoulders.

Get Financial Support

Caring for your loved one can really add up financially over time. If you have money worries already, the thought of getting into debt can increase stress levels. One of the best ways to lower the financial weight of caring for your loved one is to look for financial support that you can rely on when you need it most.

One of the best places to start is by seeking out private and government benefit programs that cover some costs that are associated with looking after an elderly parent. If your loved one has a pension fund, you must discuss whether they’re able to use a portion of this to pay you as the family caregiver. Although it can be difficult to speak about this subject, you need to do so for your own wellbeing.

Look After Yourself

With your full focus and concentration on looking after your elderly loved one, you mustn’t neglect self-care. Whether it’s by eating a balanced diet, getting a good night’s sleep, or drinking plenty of water throughout the day, you need to be in the right headspace to provide quality care.

Regular physical activity can increase energy levels and keep you alert at all times when caring for your elderly parent. Also, don’t forget to factor in time to spend with your family and friends. You do still have a life to live yourself, so don’t feel guilty about doing things that you love, as your parent will understand this.

For your elderly parent to receive the best care possible, you must make note of the advice listed above and incorporate it into your care plan. Doing so will ensure you and your loved one can effectively communicate and decide what course of action to take.

Thanks to Sneks

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