When we are young, our parents care for us and help us grow and develop. But as the years go by, our parents start to age, and the roles shift as we help to care for them the way they once did for us. It can be challenging to be a caregiver, but you can make the process smoother with the proper support and knowledge. Here are some helpful tips when caring for your elderly parents.
Assess Their Essential Needs
First and foremost, it’s important to assess your parents’ essential needs. To provide the best possible support for them during this time, determine where they need the most help. For example, maybe your parents are struggling with meal preparation or personal grooming and dressing, or perhaps they need additional assistance with chores around the house. It can be beneficial to converse with them to find out how they feel you could best support them. Make a list of their essential needs and priorities, and then develop a schedule and routine that works best.
Make Their Home Safe & Accessible
As people age, their mobility often decreases, making it more difficult to get around the house. You want to ensure that your parent’s home is safe and accessible so they can avoid accidents. Start by removing anything from the space that poses a hazard or fall risk. Then make sure the shower or bathtub has a safety rail or shower seat to make bathing easier for them. If your parent uses a walker, cane, or wheelchair, you want to ensure that doorways and home entrances are easily accessible. You may want to add a ramp to the front door if there are steps that your parent has trouble with.
Avoid Burning Yourself Out
Taking care of your parents will likely take a lot of your time and energy. Therefore, you want to do everything you can to avoid burnout. Be sure to also focus on your needs to ensure you are physically and mentally healthy enough to provide the best possible care to your parents. Take the necessary time to rest and recharge when you need to so you don’t overexert yourself. Ask for help and support from friends and other family members if you need extra assistance.
Consider Alternative Options
Caregiving is a big job requiring a lot of effort, and there may come a time when your parents need more assistance than you can offer. But don’t beat yourself up over this because alternative options are available. Knowing when it’s the right time to consider hospice is helpful. There are many different forms of hospice, such as in-home care, respite care, in-patient care, etc. If your parent has additional medical needs that would benefit from the help of a medical professional, it might be a good time to look into alternative approaches to care.
Now that you know these essential tips when caring for aging parents, you can utilize these ideas today. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support if you need it, and look into other solutions if your parents require additional assistance.