Watching your parents age can be difficult, especially when they are determined to maintain the utmost independence even when it’s abundantly clear that they need a little extra help.
As their child, you probably feel a distinct responsibility to provide optimal care for them – or find someone better equipped to do so – while ensuring that their independence and dignity remains protected. It can feel overwhelming which is why it’s vital to have important conversations earlier and develop a plan for the future. Here are ten steps to take when it becomes clear that your aging parent needs a hand.
- Consider your parents’ needs. Has their mobility diminished? Does their memory appear to be suffering? Are they lonely? Do they need help with basic tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking? Answering these questions will shed some light on the kind of assistance they need.
- Determine what kind of care you can provide. Are you planning to be the main caretaker for your aging parent or have their needs eclipsed the scope of your abilities? Do you have the necessary time and energy to devote to such a consuming, yet rewarding task? Be honest with yourself.
- Discuss the future with your parent. Don’t exclude your aging loved one from conversations surrounding their care. If they are able, include them in the conversation and respect their autonomy, desires, and independence.
- Address safety hazards in the home. It’s important to ensure that your aging loved one is living in a safe place. Clean up clutter to eliminate the risk of falls, install hand rails or a chair lift, move furniture to accommodate a walker or a wheelchair, and ensure all areas of the house are well-lit.
- Consider finances. The kind of help you can provide to an aging parent is dependent upon their/your financial situation. If necessary, hire a financial advisor to help you with the logistics and to ensure you can obtain the best possible care for your loved one without draining emergency funds.
- Ensure that your aging parent has a means to contact you. Phones should be easy to reach and in multiple rooms of the house. If your loved one has trouble remembering things, make a list of importance phone numbers and display it near the phone.
- Encourage your parent to maintain or develop a social community. Meaningful connections and friendships are essential to holistic wealth and friends can be a source of encouragement and levity for your aging loved one.
- Invite medical professionals into the conversation. Whether it’s an appointment with a doctor to evaluate physical health or a meeting with a psychologist to evaluate mental health, it’s important to ensure that your loved one is receiving the proper treatment and medications.
- Consider bringing on extra help, whether that is another family member, a friend, or a professional. It’s important to be realistic about your capabilities, especially when it’s in the best interest of your aging parent.
- Explore your options for getting your aging parent connected. Even if you’d like to be the primary caregiver, it’s a good idea to take all your options into consideration with the awareness that your loved one will still need lots of social interaction, outlets for creativity, and mental stimulation.
Adult Day Services can support you and your aging loved one. Please call today to schedule a tour and see what daily life is like here. Don’t try to shoulder the responsibility of caregiving on your own. We are here to help you, and also your loved one as they age in place in the comfort of their own home.