For some, even the idea of discussing the possible disability or dependence of their parent(s) is overwhelming. Aging is an inevitable part of life—but we often don’t realize how much of an impact it can have on our entire family. Adult children often find that caregiving responsibilities fall to them as parents get older. Caring for aging parents can be a big challenge if you do not properly prepare for it. This guide will touch on some of the most important things you should understand before becoming a caregiver.
Even when parents are in good health, their needs will continue to change over time, and they’ll soon need outside support. When that time comes, there are a lot of questions you’ll want to address. Should you care for your elderly parents in their own homes?
Do you need to move them to your home? Is a retirement community a good investment? we touch on these concerns and more.
Caregiving is a lot of work but with proper support, it doesn’t have to difficult
Caring for elderly parents, regardless of where they live, can be overwhelming. Whether you’re taking care of your parents in your home or theirs, there are a lot of variables to consider. Caring for aging parents at home is possible, assuming they have the financial resources to support that decision.
Perhaps start by broaching the subject with the following topics in mind. First, understanding the lexicon of aging options is a critical piece of careful preparation.
Scrambling to educate yourself during a crisis is stressful and may lead to poor decisions. Our tips will give you the confidence to make informed choices. Talking with your parents about long-term care needs can be difficult.
For some, even the idea of discussing the possible disability or dependence of their parent(s) is overwhelming. The aging process is stressful, and it can be challenging to care for loved ones who are experiencing the effects of that stress.
There are many things you can do to combat these challenges. The following tips will help you prepare for caring for your aging parents:
- Plan ahead by considering their health, living needs, and finances
- Communicate with them regularly
- Help them feel safe and secure in the home they live in
- Avoid being too overbearing
During the stress of caring for aging parents, it is convenient to make decisions quickly without your parent’s input.
Take a deep breath and remember that your parent has autonomy and choice. Respecting their autonomy means involving them in all decisions. The following are suggested topics for discussion.
Most aging adults say they want to remain at home. However, building a foundation of knowledge about the resources available and the costs associated with those resources can help guide your decisions.
Above all, communicating with your parent collaboratively and respectfully is the best approach.
As much as your parents want to age in place, it’s necessary to make sure this model is financially possible for your family.
For example, can your parents maintain the cost of a house? Are you (or your family members) able to handle projects and repairs that are owning a home requires?
These are essential questions to ask when you’re taking care of elderly parents at home—and you might need to sit down with a financial advisor to discuss the details.
Tips for taking care of elderly parents
It’s essential for the person taking care of their aging parents to remember that they still have needs. It is also vital to make sure everyone around them knows what activities should be followed daily.
A list of IADLs can help with this process and limit activities or stay at home when needed.
Share caregiving responsibility
Sometimes, it can be challenging to find a care provider for your loved one. One of the best ways to ease this burden is by asking for help from family members, friends, and close relatives.
However, remember that getting help in one situation might not be suitable in another. Finding caregiving support is an essential step to more straightforward caregiving situations.
Understand the financial and family situation to take care of aging parents
It can be hard to take care of aging parents at home, but as much as they want to age in place, it’s necessary to make sure that this model is financially possible for your family.
There are a few things you should consider before making a decision. Firstly, find out if there are any resources available on which your parents may be relying.
If so, see if these would support their lifestyle without a significant change in financial status for the family.
Secondly, identify their priorities and make sure you can meet them.
Lastly, compromise is both economically sound and emotionally doable for all family members.
Lean on community resources
There are now services within communities that can help caregivers and ease the responsibility of watching aging parents. some of these resources may be:
- Home care aides
- Meal delivery programs
- Transportation services
- Personal care services
Take care of home safety basics.
Safety hazards in the house add up over time, making it easier for older adults to trip, fall, or hurt themselves.
Preventing falls will go a long way to keeping your parent independent for as long as possible.
Simple fixes include:
- Make sure all floors and walkways are clear of clutter, cords, and rugs
- Adding grab bars in the bathroom and stair railings throughout
- Updating lights so all rooms are bright and switches are easily accessible
- Ensuring all appliances work well and are within easy reach
- Minimizing the need to use step-stools or bend down low
An older home may have several flights of stairs or a step-in tub. Take a good look at what might need to be done to make the home environment safe and assess the cost. Also, learn how to use mobility aids like bedpans and transfer boards to help with moving and keeping your loved ones safe and more comfortable.
Make Legal Changes with your parents.
Sometimes making legal changes or updating legal documents can be something we do not think about or find uncomfortable.
But it will help in the long term if you sit down and have all the proper and necessary legal documents in order.
- Power of attorney
- Trusts and guardianship
- Living wills
- Do not resuscitate order
- and more.
Learn how to communicate with Doctors
When you care for elder parents you will probably have to learn how to deal with and speak with doctors. As we get older more issues naturally happen with our bodies resulting in more trips to the doctors and hospitals.
Because of this, you should understand you may have to deal with and communicate more with medical staff when you become a caregiver for aging parents.
Preparing parents for other types of care
As your parent(s) age, there are other types of care to consider. Unfortunately, people don’t always linearly access different types of care.
For example, your parent might need rehabilitation followed by temporary in-home care. Or, your parent is in assisted living and requires repair after a fall.
Other daily living activities, not necessarily fundamental but related to independent functioning, are called instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). IADLs most often refer to the following types of activities with long-term care:
- Cooking and Preparing Meals
- Cleaning and Maintaining the Home
- Shopping and Buying Necessities
- Running Errands
- Managing Money and Paying Bills
- Speaking or Communicating on the Phone or Through Other Devices
- Taking Prescribed Medications
Again, it’s essential to the overall well-being of elderly parents that their IADLs are taken care of effectively and consistently. If there are obstacles or difficulties with doing these tasks alone, there is help.
Whether you, other siblings, relatives or friends that help out, or even professional caregivers, arranging help is possible.
Other sources of support include technological devices that can provide assistance or even various community services geared at helping seniors.
Taking an honest look at where an elderly parent needs support is the first step and then assessing all the possible solutions to get them the help they need.
Consider hiring a caregiver.
When older adults need significant help with their care, they may live comfortably at home as long as a caregiver is available. However, if the health issues become too difficult for the senior or they cannot live independently, it can be time to consider assisted living.
You must think about all your options before moving a parent into your home and hiring in-home care for aging in place.
If you’re thinking about hiring a caregiver for your loved one, it is essential to consider all the options first. In-home care and assisted living care senior care options can help provide needed support for an aging parent or family member.
Both of these services offer quality care with professional service providers, so you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying time with your loved ones as they age in comfort and safety at home.
Resources for caregivers
There are many resources for caregivers and the people that care for them. Some great resources on the internet include:
– Caregiver Circle at Google.com/Caregiver
– Caregiver Support Group at Google.com/Support
– The National Institute on Aging
–The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) is a national non-profit organization with local chapters that provides information about the industry, supports caregivers, and helps provide referrals.
–The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCCA) is a national non-profit organization with local chapters that provides information about the industry, supports caregivers]:, and helps provide referrals.
–The Alzheimer’s Association is a national non-profit organization that provides information about the disease, supports caregivers, and helps provide referrals.
-The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is a national non-profit organization with local chapters that provides information about the industry, supports caregivers, and helps provide referrals.
-The National Organization of State Commissions on Aging (NOSCA) is a national non-profit organization with local chapters that provides information about the industry, supports caregivers, and helps