As our parent’s age, we may find ourselves in the position of needing to help them out with various things. This can be difficult, both emotionally and practically, but there are steps you can take to make the process easier.
Here are seven steps to take when aging parents need help.
Step 1: Talk About It
There is a lot going on with your parent or loved one’s medical status that it may be hard for them to think rationally about their current state. They might say they don’t want any help from family members, even if they do really need it.
Sit down with them and talk about possible care options from home health aides and physical therapists before actually needing them. Make sure everyone is clear on what kind of services the person needs, so nothing is forgotten or left out. This will also help them get a clearer idea of what their budget is going to be, which can prevent future surprises and stress.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Once you know how much income your loved one has available for caregiving services, make a plan based on where they are in life.
If they are retired, you might want to consider hiring home health aides for 3-4 hours in the morning when the individual needs assistance getting dressed or eating breakfast before someone comes in to take care of them in the afternoon during naptime if their caregiver works full time. You can also consult senior living advisors to help you find home care agencies that can accommodate changing needs.
If your loved one is still working, then perhaps they will only need an hour or two in the morning and then someone to come in a few afternoons a week during naptime. Regardless of their age, you should set up weekly meetings with your parent’s doctor to go over any changes to health or medications that might affect caregiving services.
Step 3: Think About Their Needs
It is important to consider what your parents might need if they are not able to take care of themselves anymore.
Depending on the severity of their condition, they may be unable to go out with friends or family members, live independently without assistance or even drive. Think about how you would suggest living differently if these circumstances presented themselves.
Step 4: Be Honest With Yourself
Even if you’re the baby of the family, you might not be thrilled at the idea of taking care of your aging parents. But this is often part of being an adult, so it’s important to make sure you are ready for the role.
Examine how far away you live from your parent or loved one. You should consider whether there are other relatives living closer who could help out if needed. If they’re local, then, by all means, offer to help out. If they aren’t within driving distance, though, think about how close their friends are and whether they would also be able to provide assistance in time of need.
Step 5: Practical Self-Care
Taking care of someone else is hard, and it’s important not to forget about yourself. Make sure you are taking time for yourself regularly so that you have the energy to help your loved one through tough times.
Don’t neglect hobbies or other activities that give you joy. It can feel especially difficult if you are dealing with aging parents who are very sick, but this kind of stress can really take its toll on your mental health if not managed well. You want to be able to provide them with the best care possible, but also remember that they aren’t just an extension of you because their needs come first!
Step 6: Keep Things Positive
Remember, there are people out there willing and ready to help your loved one, so make sure you are maintaining a positive outlook about their care.
Look for the bright side in each situation, and remember what your parent loved to do before they became sick. Try to involve them in daily activities as much as possible while still making sure you’re putting your own needs first, too.
Step 7: Plan Ahead
It can be difficult to think far into the future when our parents are elderly and need extra help, but it’s important that we try not to forget about their long-term care needs while caring for them daily.
It’s important that we plan ahead and think about how our parent or loved one might live in the future, so we don’t come up short on caregiving services.
The seven steps to take when aging parents need help will be a daunting task, but it can also provide you with some peace of mind. With these practical self-care tips for caregivers, you’ll have more energy and motivation to care for your family member as they age.