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Don’t Do It Alone: 6 Tips for Finding Help With Caring for an Elderly Parent

A young woman helping an elderly parent walk

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


August 10, 2020

It’s easy to feel alone when caring for an elderly parent.

Despite the fact that 17% of adults find themselves in the position of caregiver to their mother or father, it’s a stunning and difficult thing to need to go through.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to make it easier for both yourself and your family. Help with elder care, potentially with an in-home caretaker, can make a big difference.

Here, we’re going to discuss some of the things you need to do when your parent can no longer take care of themselves.

Read on to learn some tips for making your parent’s senior years more comfortable while keeping yourself sane.


1. Assess Your Parent’s Needs

The first thing that you need to do is assess your aging parent’s needs. The steps that you take in the future depend on what your parents need help with.

Are you finding that your parent needs help with personal hygiene and moving around? In this situation, your loved one will need more attention and energy than if they simply are forgetful and lonely.

Consider what assistance you think your parent needs. Make sure that you’re realistic in your thought process. If you overestimate your parent’s hardships, you may end up spending unnecessary money and energy. If you underestimate the issues that they’re having, though, you won’t be able to get your parent sufficient help. This means that they’ll continue to struggle, which you, of course, want to avoid.


2. Talk to Your Parent

One of the most painful and frustrating things about aging is that you get left out of making decisions that directly affect you.

To make sure that your parent doesn’t undergo these frustrations. Talk to your parent about the things that they’re most struggling with and make sure that you listen actively. In fact, you may want to jot a few notes down to ensure that both of you remember what you talked about!

Ask your parent what sort of help they think that they need. While they may not provide you with a fully accurate and realistic assessment, they’re sure to give you a starting point in figuring out what to look for.


3. Research Helpful Government Resources

There are a multitude of government resources for the elderly to look into. While these resources alone aren’t going to keep your parent comfortable, you might be able to take advantage of the programs that will benefit them.

One resource that you absolutely must be taking advantage of is medicare. Since your parent probably isn’t working a job that gives them health benefits, they need to get them through the government. If they become sick or have an accident, this will ensure that they can receive affordable and high-quality healthcare.

The Administration of the Aging (AoA) is another great program. It allows your parent to get free help with long-term care planning, health insurance counseling, and legal assistance (when applicable). Do your research and look into services like these.


4. Make Sure Their Home Is Safe

If you’re taking care of elderly parents in your home (or in theirs), you’ll need to make sure that it’s a safe place for them. This is especially the case if your parent is forgetful or gets easily confused.

Make sure that the floors are clean and clear of clutter. If your parent gets up to walk around or use the restroom, it would be a disaster if they tripped and fell. To prevent them from hurting themselves, make sure that they have a clear path to get up and move around.

You also will need to make sure that the appliances that they use are working and within reach. You don’t want them to hurt themselves by reaching around things or trying to move too deeply into dark, cramped closets. On a related note, make sure that all light switches are easily accessible and that lights around the home are bright.

Add railings and handlebars to places where your parent might need to walk or bend down. This includes the kitchen and bathroom. You don’t want them to need to bend down low, so be conscious of where you put things (and install railings).


5. Look Into Home Care Options

Caring for an elderly parent on your own is incredibly draining, which means that you likely are going to need help.

Don’t worry- help is closer than it seems. In-home caregiving is an incredibly simple and comfortable process. An in-home caregiver will come over at the times specified and help your parent with everyday activities. These activities range from cleaning up the house and helping with bathing and hygiene to simply providing companionship.

With an in-home caregiver, you can spend quality time with your parent that doesn’t involve cleaning them up or brushing their teeth. This will ensure that your parent-child relationship flourishes.

Also, unlike sending your parent to a nursing home, home care allows them to be in a familiar and comfortable environment 24/7. They won’t need to uproot themselves and lose touch with the routines and rituals that they loved. You and other family members can also be with them whenever you like, which helps with feelings of isolation. There are many options as to how to hire in-home caregivers.


6. Talk to an Expert

Once you decide to take the leap and hire home care services, you’re going to want to talk to an expert caregiver. Make sure that you ask questions like:

  • What sorts of services do you provide?
  • What are your goals for providing home care?
  • How much do your services cost?
  • How often can you come to care for my parent?
  • Can I be there while you are with my loved one?

Make sure that you inquire about all relevant considerations before signing. Also, ask what sort of services they believe your parent will need. Seeing whether or not a trained professional’s assessment matches up to yours can tell you how well you are doing at assessing your parent’s needs.


Find Help Caring for an Elderly Parent

Taking care of elderly parents is a difficult endeavor, both emotionally and physically. That’s why it’s only natural that you may need help during this time. Make sure that you take care not only of your parents but also of your own mental and physical well-being. After all, you won’t be helpful to anyone if you’re drained and tired all the time!

Now that you know the first steps of caring for an elderly parent, it’s time to get started. We at Commonwise Home Care provide personal care services and companionship so that your loved one can remain comfortable and happy even as they age.

Read more about our at-home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.