Most of us grow up around healthy, independent, and strong parents, and the notion that one day they will grow old and frail seems foreign to us. But as we grow up and they begin to age, we face the reality of life and must accept that the once strong and independent parents now need our help. Over time, we see their memories weaken, their hearing problems aggravate, and their motor abilities worsen. Slowly, they reach a point where they cannot take care of themselves properly or succumb to chronic illnesses. In such times, they need their children’s assistance more than ever.
There’s no doubt that caring for elderly parents is not easy since it’s both physically and emotionally draining. It can get stressful, tiring, frustrating, and overwhelming at times. However, the steps discussed here will make the process easier for you and your elderly parents.
Let’s have a look:
1. Understand their needs
The most apparent reason we fail to address someone’s needs properly is that we aren’t aware of them. You may think that your parents have something handled, as they will try to assure you to maintain their independence. But in actuality, aging parents require assistance in several things. Therefore, take a moment to properly understand their needs and consider the following areas that include:
- Personal hygiene
- Medical needs
- Cognitive health
- Social interactions
- Meal preparation
- Doctor appointments
- Financial support, etc.
Once you have made a list and considered all the points, only then make your decision. Now, you have two options available: you can choose to become their caregiver or consider a nursing home. But if you’re concerned about your loved one’s safety in a nursing home, be assured that you can approach a nursing home abuse law firm to protect them from harm or wrongdoing.
2. Evaluate your abilities
Once you have penned down all of your parent’s needs, it is time to consider how many of those needs you can fulfill. We are not questioning your ability or will to help your parents, but the matter is that sometimes you don’t have the time, resources, or skills to help them. For example, while it may be feasible for you to help your elderly parents around the house, you may not be able to provide adequate medical assistance. In that case, you will need to contact a medical professional to come and help or take your parents to a clinic or a hospital to get them the help they need.
Apart from that, you must also consider your time constraints, especially if you are working a job. Consider whether or not you’ll be able to visit them as much or fulfill their needs while working. Remember that caring for an elderly one is a full-time responsibility, so make your decision wisely.
3. Include them in the process
For adults, losing control of their life can be extremely challenging, especially after spending a better part of it independently. Therefore, if your parents are concerned about losing their independence, involve them in the care planning process as much as possible. Doing so will increase their awareness of their needs and help them see you as a helping hand, not someone looking to control their life.
You will likely face some resilience from them at the start, so have a few conversations with them. And if they’re not immediately in need of help, try not to force the idea on them quickly. Start with a less invasive approach and gradually increase your level of involvement.
4. Consider the finances
Unless you are monetarily well off, caring for an elderly parent will cost you money. A smart strategy, in this case, is to estimate the costs and future expenses beforehand so that you can find ways to fulfill these expenses.
Think about their needs, including their medical bills, cost of food, living, supplies, home modification, etc. Apart from that, also consider the different government and Medicaid programs available that you can use to pay for your aging parent’s long-term health and care. Overall, planning the expenses and creating a strategy will help you prevent a financial crisis in the long run.
5. Ensure home safety basics
One of the major reasons why elderly parents require more assistance in everyday living is because their environment is not designed to fulfill their needs. As they age, the safety hazards increase around the house. So, take steps to ensure they don’t injure themselves inside the house. Some simple fixes you can make around the house include:
- Clean the floor from all types of rugs, cords, or any clutter
- Drill grab bars around the bathroom as well as railing for the stairs
- Update the lights to make the switches easily accessible and to ensure that the rooms are well lit
- Fix and upgrade all appliances to ensure they work properly and are within hand’s reach
- Design the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen in a way that they don’t need to bend down or step up on something too much
You may want to move into your parent’s home full-time to fulfill every need as they grow old. However, taking such a step is not beneficial for both parties. You need to maintain your life, family, and finances to ensure that your future, as well as theirs, is secure, and they need to maintain some autonomy over their lives to feel happy. However, if they have grown old and need full-time assistance, consider a nursing home as your option.