Ten Useful Tips to Help You Care for Your Elderly Parents
If you are currently faced with the prospect of caring for your elderly parents on a full-time basis, you need to be sure you are in a position to give them the care they deserve.
Of course, you will feel duty-bound to care for your mother and father as their health begins to let them down, but you must be prepared for a difficult and potentially stressful experience.
These useful tips come from real people who have lived through the experience themselves, and they could help you to provide effective and loving care in your own home.
Assess What Kind of Care is Required
Does your parent require assistance due to immobility, or is there a degenerative illness that will eventually require professional care? It may do more good than harm to move a parent into your home if you know they will need to leave for a nursing home in the near future. If the arrangement is expected to be long-term, you should seriously consider adapting your home with the necessary mobility aids. These might include grab rails, commodes, shower rails and patient alarms for emergencies.
Assess How Much Supervision You Can Provide
You need to be honest and realistic about how much time you can devote to your mother or father; both with them and yourself. If work commitments prevent you from providing the care they deserve, you might need to pay for home help, or you could enlist the help of another family member. It is not a crime to admit you can’t devote the necessary time to your parents’ care; in fact, struggling on regardless could do more harm than good.
Make Your Home ‘Elderly Friendly’
Does your home have stairs, and are they steep? Are there tricky steps to negotiate at the front door, and is the toilet accessible. These factors will have a profound effect on the care you can give, and it may be necessary to adapt your home with products such as wheelchair ramps, stair-lifts and hand-rails.
Be Honest About the Financial Implications
Adapting a home, feeding extra mouths and paying for additional care all comes at a price and you need to be honest about what you can comfortably afford. Elderly people don’t want to be a burden, and the last thing you want is money becoming an issue. Explore which government grants are available, and how much your parents can contribute – if that is necessary.
Find Out How Do Your Own Children and Spouse Feel
Caring for the elderly is a massive responsibility, and a harmonious home with everyone pulling together is absolutely essential. Talk to your family beforehand, and make sure the decision to provide care for your parents is a collective one.
Discuss Your Own House Rules with Your Parent Beforehand
You may have very specific house rules that your parent may not be used to. Smoking, bedtimes, the playing of music and where people eat may be issues that need to be agreed on before your parent moves in permanently.
Prepare Yourself for a Huge Change in Lifestyle
Moving your elderly parent into your home may seem like your only option, but your should be aware that it will have huge consequences on the way you and your family live your lives. A home with immobility sufferers will need to be kept clear of tripping hazards at all times, and that could mean constant cleaning and tidying. Other factors such as the playing of loud music and eating times could also be affected.
Is a Social Network in Place and is it Accessible?
It is important that your parents continue to enjoy social interaction with friends, so giving them the ability to move around the community is vital. Purchasing walking aids such as mobility scooters and walking sticks will allow them to remain as independent as their body allows.
Organize a Schedule for Medication
The chances are that your parent has a stringent schedule of medication to adhere to on a daily basis, so drawing up a plan will help you to manage the process of taking prescription drugs effectively. There are some excellent smart phone apps that help with this area of care.
Continually Assess the Situation
Growing old leads to an inevitable deterioration in health over time, so it is essential that you continue to monitor your parent’s health and mobility issues on an ongoing basis. It may be necessary to make new alterations to your home over time, including the fitting of bed hoists and stair-lifts.
Every home and relationship is different, so being open and honest with your parents, your own family and yourself is essential if the care you give is to be effective and safe.