When we were growing up, our parents spent over a decade building their lives around us. They helped feed us, clothe us, and get us to school on time.
Once we become adults, it slowly becomes our turn to take care of them. It can seem like a daunting task at first, but with the right tips, taking care of elderly parents becomes an extremely rewarding experience.
Evaluate Care Needs
The first thing you should do when investigating elderly care for your parents is to evaluate your parents’ needs. For example, are they still able to cook for themselves, or will you need to provide meals for them on a regular basis? Is their memory intact, or do you need to worry about dementia and/or confusion?
Often, the best person for this job is a physician or other medical professional. Taking your parent for a medical evaluation is the easiest way to find out what kind of care is best for them.
Parent-Proof the House
The next thing you want to do when investigating elderly care is to “parent-proof” your house. If your parents will be living with you for the foreseeable future, you may need to make some changes to your home based on their health needs.
For example, it might not be a bad idea to install extra handholds in the shower or bath to prevent them from falling. Elders with decreased mobility may benefit from a chairlift to help them get up the stairs.
Be Honest with Yourself
Taking care of elderly parents can take a huge toll on a person. While it’s easy to commit to the process at first, some elders require so much care that it’s impossible for one person to do it all on their own.
If you have young children, work a full-time job, or are extremely active in your community, be honest with yourself about what you will have to give up in order to take care of your parents. Going into the process with an open mind and realistic expectations for yourself will help motivate you through difficult times.
Ask for Help with Elderly Parents
Depending on your parents’ needs, elderly care can quickly become a full-time job. If you start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and time involved in taking care of your elderly parents, remember that you don’t have to do this alone.
It is quite common for people to hire staff to help care for their parents when they are not able to be home. Others opt to place their parents in a retirement community or facility where they can receive around-the-clock care.
Take Care of Yourself
Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. It can be easy to lose track of your own priorities and needs while taking care of elderly parents.
However, putting your own needs aside can lead to resentment, frustration, and unhappiness. You shouldn’t expect yourself to commit your entire life to take care of your parents, and it is totally reasonable to take time for yourself as well.
Caring for Aging Parents: Everyone’s Different
It’s important to remember that each family’s needs are different when it comes to eldercare. You may even find differences between the needs of your two elderly parents.
Ultimately, all children want the best for their aging parents, whether that means taking care of them at home or placing them in the care of professionals at a senior living facility. For more tips on elder care, check out our other blog posts.