Our parents take care of us, clothe us, feed us, teach us how to live, and they do it with love and affection. So when they get older, it’s often the case that we are able to repay that favor and help them live longer and more happily too, but it isn’t always an easy task. Caring for an elderly parent needs a lot of planning so that you can be emotionally, physically, and financially strong enough to do it well. Here are some ways that you can help when it comes time to take care of an elderly parent.
Hire A Carer
You can’t do it all, especially if your parent is sick and needs some kind of specialist help, or perhaps as well as you work full time and can’t always be there when you are required. Just as a parent would hire a professional nanny or childminder, so an adult child can hire someone who can be there when they can’t be. Who that person is will depend on your parent’s needs, of course. You might be able to ask a neighbor or sibling, for example, to sit with your mom or dad while you’re at work, or while you run errands. Alternatively, if they need medical care that you are unable to give, you might consider hiring someone who is qualified to do this with the utmost professional and expert skill.
There are many agencies across the country which will give you the advice you are looking for in this respect, and they will be able to appoint suitable carers who will be able to fit around your commitments and your parent’s requirements. Remember, though, that hiring a professional is not going to be free, and perhaps not even cheap, so you may need to look into funding options as well.
You can hire these professional carers if your parent chooses to stay in their own home as well, which can be a great way to give you peace of mind and ensure that they are being looked after, getting nutritious meals daily and still retaining their independence.
Consider Assisted Living
Although you may initially want your parent to come live with you, sometimes that’s not what is best for everyone, and this is why there are assisted living communities that can be a great alternative. Assisted living means that your parent can still have some independence, so it will depend on what ailments they have as to whether this really would be suitable. You would be able to visit, they would be able to visit you, and everything that you would have done together can still be done. However, there would be extra care onsite for your parent’s medical and emotional needs, making assisted living a great place for many people to be. You can read more now about how it could be your best option for your elderly parent.
Stay At Home With Tech
If your parent does not need to have a live-in carer or be monitored all the time, then they may well choose to stay at home, even if they are elderly and potentially sick. It makes sense for many, especially if the home in question is the one in which they brought up their children and worked hard to pay off. They want to be able to enjoy it for as long as possible.
This can be great for their emotional health, but their physical health can suffer, and if children live many miles away, getting over to help them isn’t always an easy task. Using technology to improve everyone’s lives, however, is something that means everyone can relax that little bit more. For example, you might want to set your parent up with a tablet or smartphone so that when you call them, it can be on a video call, meaning you can then assess how they look and what they are doing.
Motion sensors can also help. These can be linked to the adult child’s smartphone, or another device, and will show when the parent got out of bed, whether they are moving around, and so on. There are no cameras or microphones involved, so there is no issue with privacy, but you would be able to tell if they had gone into the bathroom and were still in there an hour or two later, which could alert you that something was wrong.
Make The House Safe
No matter where your parent has chosen to live, it’s a good idea to ensure that it is as safe as possible. If an older adult falls over, they can break a bone because older bones are more brittle than those in younger generations. On top of that, older people take longer to heal and can easily catch infections when they are recovering. So it’s far better to check the house over and make sure it is safe rather than risk something terrible happening.
There are a variety of ways that you can do this. To start with, take a walk around the property and look for anything that could they could trip over or that would be in the way. It might mean moving furniture, and it could be that you have a tidy and a de-clutter (with your parent’s permission) so that it is easier to get around.
Next, take a look at the less obvious issues. Is there a gas stove? It can be a problem if your parent has memory problems and suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is so easy to leave the gas on, and this could result in a bad accident. Consider replacing this stove with an electric one instead. How hot does the water in the tub or shower get? If it’s very hot there is a risk of scalding, so installing anti-scald devices can be a great idea, keeping the temperature to a comfortable, safe level. It will also be worth installing carbon monoxide detectors because older adults are more susceptible to the effects of CO2, even in low levels.
There are many devices which can be used to keep your parent safe and sound, and each one will reduce the chances of an accident happening in the home.
Something that is very important whether your parent is in their own home or assisted living (or living with other family members) is to visit them. They will always want to see you and going to visit and having a good talk, bringing flowers or chocolate, taking the grandchildren to see them will do everyone good. It’s essential that older people are not forgotten just because our lives are busy ones. After all, they brought you up, they sacrificed a lot for you, and so taking some time out of your schedule to ensure they are happy, to hug them and hold their hand, is a wonderful thing to do.
Power Of Attorney
Although it may feel uncomfortable, drawing up a Power of Attorney is essential if your parent is declining in health. A Power of Attorney allows a designated person to have control over someone else’s finances and health decisions. It can really work out well when a parent becomes elderly because they may no longer have the presence of mind to pay their bills, or in some cases, they may spend a lot of money without realizing, or, sadly, be duped into doing so by con artists. It’s better, then, that someone else is able to control the money when it is required.
As for health, a Power of Attorney can be issued that will give someone the necessary controls over what healthcare is provided and when. Of course, you will need to discuss all of this with your parent to ensure that everyone is happy and understands what their wishes are. Once it is all set up there won’t be any need to discuss it again so that you can get back to normal. Remember, although it may be an uncomfortable thing to talk about, it is also an important one, so make it a priority.
Keep Them Involved
When the demands of child-rearing and work are over, it can be easy for some older people to become inactive which is bad for their health both physically and mentally. Therefore, keeping them involved in the local community, helping them to find a place where they can enjoy their hobbies, or even finding them new hobbies altogether, is a wonderful way of preventing them from fading away in front of the TV. Of course, older people do get more tired and are less physically able than younger ones, so days in front of the TV are fine in moderation. They’re a good way to recharge; it’s the same for everyone.
Other options could include volunteering somewhere like a nursery school or a Goodwill store. If they can drive, they might want to offer their time as a driver for a local care home, for example. There are many things they can do that will keep them active and make them a valued part of society.