7 Steps To Help You Take Care Of Parents When They Are Aging

7 Steps To Take When Aging Parents Need Help

What To Do When Your Aging Parents Require Assistance

If your aging parents need assistance to remain safe and healthy, you’re most likely feeling uncertain about what to do. Identifying their needs, recognizing the options, and making decisions can really feel overwhelming.

Concentrating on something concrete helps you feel much more in control of the circumstances.  Utilize these 7 steps to turn the obscure issues of “looking after my parent” into a sensible, realistic plan to help your parents be as healthy, balanced, and happy as possible.

1. Evaluate Your Parent’s Needs

Taking care of a parent can really be exhausting because you’re unsure of what needs to be done.  To address that problem, take a step back to understand just how much assistance your parent needs with everyday life.

Think about 8 key areas:

Just how much assistance are they currently getting in each category and just how much assistance do they genuinely require to remain safe and healthy?  Write every little detail down in a caregiving journal so you can monitor their needs as well as to find out what services are needed. 

As an example, let’s say your father is managing diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, has no other relatives close by, is isolated in a rural area, and despises to cooking for himself.  Plus, you live across the country. Now you recognize that he’ll most definitely need assistance with transportation, medication administration, and meals.  You might hire a driver for his doctor visits and errands, set up meal prep deliveries, and hire an aide to make sure he is taking his medications.

2. Consider Your Very Own Needs And Abilities

We are all in different stages in our lives.  Prior to making the assumption that you can look after all of your parents’ needs on your own, take a minute to consider your very own situation and capabilities.

  • Does your health enable you to care for someone else?
  • Do you live close enough to go visit as often as necessary?
  • Would you live with them, either in their home or yours?
  • Do you have the type of relationship that enables you to spend time with each other without creating a lot of tension?
  • Do you have the type of personality to provide the kind of care they would need?
  • Are you able to learn how to provide the type of care they are going to need?

All of us want our parents to be safe and also healthy.  It’s not selfish or uncaring if you’re not the very best individual to provide that care.  By keeping an eye out for their health and wellness and preparing for the assistance they’ll require, you’re still being a supportive and caring child.

It would be ideal to make a sincere evaluation early in the process so you do not get yourself into a scenario that’s not feasible.  If you take on too much and wear out, you will not have the ability to help your parent or yourself.

3. Include Your Parent In The Process

7 Steps To Help You Take Care Of Parents When They Are Aging

Nobody wants to lose control of their life, especially someone that’s already concerned about losing their freedom.

That’s why it’s so important to involve your moms or dad as much as possible when you’re planning their care.  This helps them see you much more as an ally as opposed to someone that’s swooping in to make changes.  They’re more likely to be resistant in the beginning, so it will probably take several conversations.  As long as they’re not in immediate danger, try not to force adjustments too quickly.

A useful method is to begin with less invasive strategies and increase the degree of help as you go.  Unless an immediate risk, get them used to accepting help by focusing on 1 or 2 essential needs.  Afterwards, slowly add on until they’re getting all the aid they really need.

4. Recognize The Financial Situation

No matter what, taking care of an older adult will certainly cost money.  It’s an excellent strategy to estimate future expenses so you’ll be prepared.

Think of the medical care they’re most likely to need, the price of their potential living circumstances (like assisted living vs moving in with you), and the daily expenses like food, caregiving supplies, home safety adjustments, and so on.

As soon as you have an idea of their financial position, you’ll understand if they’ll have the ability to pay for the care they require or if they’ll need financial assistance.  Government programs, Medicaid, and various other programs are readily available to help pay for long-term care.

You may wish to seek the advice of an elder law attorney or financial planner|coordinator to help you with things like getting approved for Medicaid.  No matter, it’s best to plan in advance so they will not get caught in a money crunch.

5. Take Care Of Home Safety Basics

Safety risks in the house build up over time, making it much easier for older adults to trip, fall, or injure themselves.  Protecting against falls will go a long way to keeping your parent independent for as long as possible.

Easy fixes consist of:

  • Ensuring all floors and walkways are clear of clutter, cables, as well as rugs
  • Adding grab bars in the bathroom and stair railings throughout
  • Upgrading lights so all rooms are bright and light switches are conveniently accessible
  • Ensuring all appliances work well and are within easy reach
  • Reducing the need to utilize step-stools or bend down low

6. Ensure Communication Is Simple And Easily Available

An additional thing that keeps your mom or dad safe is the ability to quickly call for assistance as well as stay in touch with family and friends.  In addition to being a safety and security risk, isolation and solitude have a significant negative impact on overall health and wellness.

Make sure their phone is simple to utilize and quickly available.  For some, keeping a basic cellphone with pre-programmed numbers in their pocket is comforting and simpler to get to.

7. Research Readily Available Senior Care Options

7 Steps To Help You Take Care Of Parents When They Are Aging

Even after breaking down the steps, taking care of your parent can be an overwhelming obligation. Thankfully, there are numerous aging care choices and useful resources you can rely on.

  • Geriatric care managers — they can act as consultants to guide you or they can manage all aspects of caring for your parent. Their experience could save you time, money, and headaches down the road.
  • In-home caregiving help — whether you hire privately or go through a home care agency, hired caregivers take care of seniors in their home.
  • Assisted living communities — if your parent isn’t able to live on their own or needs 24/7 care, assisted living and other senior housing options might be the right choice.
  • Geriatricians (geriatric doctors) — they specialize in caring for seniors and have more experience treating people with multiple chronic health conditions, dementia, and other conditions that primarily affect older adults
  • Area Agency on Aging — this is the county-level government office that serves local seniors. It’s a great starting point because they connect you with helpful local resources and government programs.