Caring for an elderly parent is a huge responsibility. It is one that gets increasingly demanding the older they get.
If you’re looking after an older adult at home, it’s reasonable to wonder whether you’re doing or even saying the right thing at all times. These practical tips can help you better address their needs and protect their well-being.
Develop a routine
A daily routine will help you and your parent get a lot more done quickly and efficiently.
Make a list of your daily tasks and schedule reminders on your phone to ensure you don’t miss an item. Divide big tasks into smaller chunks so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.
If your parent suffers from impaired mobility, create a system for assisting them with essential activities such as:
- Functional mobility (getting in and out of bed or a chair)
- Personal hygiene (brushing, shaving, styling hair)
- Toilet hygiene (getting to the toilet, self-cleaning)
Creating a routine is a team effort. As much as you want to make things easier for your loved one, make sure you factor in their needs and preferences. Let them be in charge of their schedule, but communicate any concerns and recommendations you have. Be open and considerate with each other. This way, you prevent more disagreements in the long run.
Make your home senior-friendly
87% of adults age 65 and above want to stay in their current home and community as they age. If your parent shares the same sentiment, you may need to make simple home modifications to create a safe and accessible space for seniors.
Add grab bars near the toilet and in the showers/tubs to assist in sitting and standing. Install railings on both sides of your stairways. If possible, let your parent move into a first-floor bedroom to prevent stairway injuries.
Bathroom access on the main floor that is also wide enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair. Install reachable storage areas in the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other areas of the home.
Research shows that each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. Implementing these home fixtures will keep slips and accidents at bay and safeguard your parent’s health.
Know the financial costs
Caring for an aging parent comes with significant financial burdens, including food, medicine, and transportation to and from appointments. You may also need to invest in equipment and accessories such as new electric wheelchairs or personal alert systems.
On the bright side, financially supporting an older loved one may give you a tax deduction. If they meet the IRS requirements to be considered your dependent, you may be entitled to this benefit.
Get professional help
Caregiving is a full-time job. There’s no need to give up your career or social life when there are people who can lend a hand.
Consider hiring live-in carers who can give your parents one-on-one, 24-hour assistance. That means you don’t have to worry about getting up at night or stopping by the drugstore on your way home. If you’re not yet ready for a full-time carer, you can explore respite care services to get a longer break from the daily routine.
Finding trusted help takes patience and effort, but the decrease in your stress and workload will make it a worthy investment.
Caregiving comes with medical, financial, and interpersonal concerns. That’s why it’s essential to plan and research ahead of time. The more you know what to expect, the better equipped you will be to take care of your loved one.