Taking care of aging parents at home is often the first step in a senior’s long-term care plan. As well as saving money and keeping a loved one at home, it can also help the family determine whether home care is more appropriate than facility care.
Caretaking the elderly at home is usually the responsibility of adult children. Many adult children experience an increase in dependency around the time they retire, or after their own children leave the nest. While their children are at home, it begins for others, referred to as “the sandwich generation.” Those who are sandwiched between two generations of people for whom they are responsible are often called the sandwich generation.
Caregiving Tips for Aging Parents
1. Make sure your parents are doing well
Initially, taking care of elderly parents at home can be as easy as making a weekly or daily phone call to check in and gauge their mood from the conversational nuggets they share.
This simply falls short in many situations. Unless they are already deep in the grips of dementia or Alzheimer’s, seniors who are having trouble frequently hide it while talking on the phone. In either case, physical observation is necessary to determine how well seniors who live alone are doing.
You might wish to familiarise yourself with the 10 Signs Your Parents Need Help to Live Safely at Home. Time flies when you work, take care of your children, are involved with extracurricular activities, and have to keep an eye on elderly parents, thus SGers are particularly prone to missing (or dismissing) these indications.
Utilizing resources is essential
There are a variety of resources available to the elderly. In addition to rocking chairs, cushions, and tables, the market offers a wide variety of items. In particular, those who are elderly and have limited mobility are given lightweight portable chairs. There are also resources available from the government and the community, such as food stipends, exercise equipment, and transportation services. Ensure your loved one qualifies for these programs and knows how they can benefit them.
Assist early and often
Being a caregiver is a significant duty that only gets harder as your parents age because their requirements increase accordingly. It is challenging to determine what is required, how frequently, who is most suited to provide it, etc. before a crisis occurs.
Engage your entire immediate family. It should be a team effort, whether it’s offering respite care on predetermined days or times of the year, making a general donation to a fund that supports qualified in-home caregivers as needed, or hiring someone to clean the house. If you tackle it all by yourself, you’ll exhaust yourself.
- Obtain respite care
There will be occasions when you are unable to care for your parents:
- Planning and preparing meals
- More assistance around the house
- running errands or the laundry
- unexpected medical visit
There are other times when you need to go away, from annual family trips to weekend sporting events. You can have respite care available when you need it by coordinating with a home care organisation in advance.
Make easy-to-prepare meals available
Malnutrition is a risk for seniors. It can be attributed to several factors, but one of the main reasons is lack of strength and ability to procure, handle, and produce food. It is thus more likely that seniors will miss meals and consume foods that lack nutrition.
A variety of suggestions can be found in Resources for Healthy Eating to help you make sure your loved one regularly eats wholesome foods that meet their dietary requirements. It is possible to arrange for these services wherever you live.
Self-care is important
You cannot care for anyone if you are incapacitated yourself; it’s like the axiom on airplanes to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. To have the strength, resources, and energy to be a caretaker, find ways to feed your body and your spirit.
It’s lovely to get a massage or spend an hour or two at the gym, but for many carers, those options aren’t feasible. There are five straightforward suggestions in the Harvard.edu Self-care for the Caregiver article that you can use no matter where you are.
Engage and keep your parents active
Independent living should be possible for elderly people, but not if it requires them to give up their daily activities and engagements. If you are unable to accompany your parent to the social, religious, recreational, and other events they once attended, consider hiring a companion or asking others in related organisations for assistance.
For instance, a fellow Rotarian would gladly offer to drive you to or from meetings. Members of your parent’s temple, synagogue, or church can also make it easier for you to attend those events.
Safety & accessibility in the home
Seniors who live at home are more vulnerable to falls and injuries. Therefore, when taking care of the elderly at home, safety comes first. While certain structural changes might be necessary, most tasks involved in making a senior’s house safe and accessible only call for a few pairs of helping hands and minimal DIY experience.