Taking care of an aging parent who cannot take care of themselves is a huge obligation, and it’s something you must think about carefully. Often, when they can no longer take care of themselves, people decide on using nursing facilities such as the Abbey Manor, while others prefer to take care of their parents in the place they’ve lived their whole life, making it a more comfortable and accessible place so they can feel safe and healthy.
Assess their needs
Taking care of a parent can be quite overwhelming since you don’t know their exact needs. Do your research and understand how much and what kind of help they’ll need for an easier living. For example, think about home safety to prevent them from getting injured when moving around the house. Add grab bars in the bathroom and stairs, clear the walkways and floors of clutter, rugs, and cords, and other things to improve their living.
Another important thing you should consider is their mobility aids like walkers, stairlifts, and even hospital beds. It might not be easy for them to access their usual bed, so you should think about lift beds for elderly people to make it easier for them to get in and out of bed. The adjustability of these beds is essential since it offers greater independence and safety than traditional beds. The best part is that hospital beds can be paired with any of the other mobility aids to assist in aging at home.
It’s very important to think about how much care they need, and how much care you can provide. If you don’t feel confident in taking care of them alone, don’t hesitate to look for help from professional caregivers. This process can be a bit difficult since it’s not easy to find someone to stay with and take care of them, especially if they don’t feel comfortable with other people. If you don’t want to hire a caregiver, take advantage of community resources, or you might want to consider asking other family members for help.
This is important whether it’s for helping with small errands like food delivery, walking them, or just keeping them company while you’re not around. Caregiving is a major responsibility and it might get increasingly harder once your parent gets older and their needs increase. Don’t put yourself in the position of waiting until they must get medical care 24/7.
Taking care of an older adult will cost money. It would be best to think ahead about the medical care they’ll need, costs like food, home safety modifications, caregiving supplies, and the cost of their potential living situation (if you can no longer take care of them at home). Once you get an idea of the financial situation, you’ll know whether you’ll be able to afford the care or you’ll need financial help.
Also, explore long-term care insurance to find the one that’s right for your situation. The National Institute of Aging has made a guide to paying for long-term care including a cost-of-care calculator. So, don’t forget to look for all your options so you’ll be able to provide the best care for your aging loved one. Medicaid, government programs, and others are available to help you out, and you might want to consider an elder law attorney to help you with things like qualifying for Medicaid.
It’s important to make a daily schedule and stick to it, especially if your aging loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll notice that implementing a schedule will make their days more organized and you’ll even find them in better mood and health. For example, you can set the same time each day for waking up and going to sleep.
You can also make mealtime consistent since well-timed meals can help with digestion throughout the day, preventing low blood sugar and helping the elderly take medications regularly. You can also add enjoyable activities, but be willing to modify the schedule since your needs are also important.
Being old doesn’t mean being isolated from other people. Loneliness and isolation have a serious negative effect on their overall health, so you might want to think about their socialization, too. Keeping your parents safe also means providing them with easier access to communication devices like phones, laptops, and such, to keep in touch with family and friends. Make sure they know how to use modern technology and that it’s easy for them to use.
You can think of wearable devices like smartwatches to help them with easier access to communicate and keep track of their health. Remember that being home all the time can cause depression, so keeping them interacting regularly can help with their mental health, too. Apart from needing physical aid, they also need mental aid.
Moving around can help keep their muscles in good condition, and also their spirits high. Start an exercise program for your aging loved ones, just make sure you talk to their doctor first. Although running may not be an option for them you can still think of other simple things like running errands together or trying home equipment that’s easy for them to use.
Find an activity they enjoy so it’ll be easy to keep them excited about the exercise plan. You can encourage them to join clubs with other people their age, to engage in activities that will not only help them physically but also mentally.
Taking care of an aging parent at home is often seen as a labor of love, but the truth is you’ll still need help and resources along the way. Look for the best options and ask for help to be able to provide them with the best healthcare they deserve. Just remember to educate and take care of yourself throughout the process, and make sure the environment for your aging loved one is safe and encourages independence and autonomy.