The moment when you realize your parents can’t take care of themselves any more is a scary and unpleasant one for both, you and your parents. At that point, it’s essential that you all sit down and have a serious conversation about what your next step will be. This might lead to changes which can be stressful and confusing. If this is the case, then the advice from this article can serve as valuable guidance for you. Here are some things to consider when caring for your elderly parents.
Invest in home safety
Due to the fact that the elderly’s bones are more fragile than those of a younger person, that they’re accident-prone and that they often lose balance, it’s crucial to make the home they’ll live in safe for them, especially if they live on their own. In order to lower the possibility of them bumping into things, slipping or tripping over various household items or furniture, you should rearrange everything to create enough space for them to move around. Things like a walk-in shower with a grab bar and non-slip mats in your kitchen, bathroom or even hallway will probably turn out to be smart investments. Moreover, if the place has two floors, their bedroom should be on the ground floor, to avoid staircase accidents. In case one of your parents is in a wheelchair, install a ramp for them and check if all the doors are wide enough for the wheelchair to pass through. Also, make sure that the sinks and counters in your home are at an adequate height, so that they can use them, and that there are no rugs, electrical cords or any other type of clutter on your floors.
Tend to all their basic needs
One of the main problems of the elderly population is the inability to tend to their own basic needs. The most frequent reason for this is that their bodies weaken and that they start suffering from some of the conditions common for their age, which include heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, but also mental decline, dementia and depression. These can make it difficult for your elderly parents to do even the most essential of things, such as take a bath, prepare a meal or go to the store. If you realize that helping them with these things is too much for you to handle on your own, you should sit down with them and discuss seeking premium aged care. Together, you should find a vibrant community which will embrace their individuality and allow them to maintain as much of their lifestyle as possible, but with clinical teams available to them, so that they’re comfortable around the clock.
Make financial decisions for them
Another very important issue to address as your parents reach a certain age is whether they can still be in charge of their finances or not and if they can make important legal or financial decisions on their own. If this is an area which they need help with, maybe it would be best for them to give you a power of attorney. This would allow you to make financial, as well as health-related decisions on their behalf and would mean that you can use their own resources to pay for any medical costs in case they need it. Furthermore, you should have them inform you of any financial plans they’ve made for their retirement, so that you know if they will have enough to provide for themselves, or you’ll have to chip in as well. That way, if need be, you can start saving as soon as possible, so that your parents don’t lack for anything.
Include other family members
Although you took it upon yourself to care for your elderly parents, you should still find time for yourself. Whether you want to go out and spend some time with your friends, or you simply need a quiet day of books and films at home, there is no reason to deny yourself these things. Also, it might happen that everyday tasks become overwhelming and you can’t manage all of them. In all these cases, you should ask your family members for help. First of all, your children and your partner should help around the house and with little things, such as making sure your parents have eaten or that everybody has their lunch packed when they leave home in the morning. Furthermore, your siblings and close friends might be able to take things over when you need some time off. This is very important, since you want to avoid burnout and find enough time for self-care.
Taking care of your elderly parents is sometimes difficult and time-consuming. However, whenever you feel like they’re a burden to you, remember that they’re still the people who love you most and who took care of you when you needed it.