What to Do When Your Elderly Parent Needs Care
Aging affects everyone. As an adult child, you may begin to see your parents’ health declining as they grow older. Although you may see the signs of their age, your parents may not. Even so, there will come a time when they can no longer live independently and care for themselves.
A national survey found that nearly 90% of adults over 50 want to age in place. Though your parents may be unfit to live alone, they are likely part of the majority who don’t want to move from their homes. Most of the time, the responsibility of caring for aging parents falls on the adult children.
So, you may be thinking a few things:
- I’m not sure how to take care of aging parents
- I need help caring for my mother/father
- How do I get home care for my mother/father?
In this article, we help family caregivers like you know what to do when your elderly parent needs care and how to get carers for the elderly at home.
How to Take Care of Aging Parents
1. Acknowledge your needs and limitations
Before assuming that you have to become a family caregiver, stop and think about your personal circumstances.
- Do you live close enough to help out regularly?
- Are you physically able to care for someone else?
- Do you have a healthy relationship with your parent(s)?
- Do you have the disposition to be a caregiver for seniors?
- Do you have other responsibilities that would interfere with being a caregiver?
These are just some of the questions to consider before jumping into the role of a caregiver. It’s not selfish to acknowledge that you’re not the best person to be caring for aging parents. Caregiving is not for everyone; it’s a vocation for compassionate, patient individuals who find fulfillment in caring for older adults.
If possible, you should maintain the role of son or daughter, not your parent’s caregiver. No one should judge you for saying, “I need help caring for my mother.” Asking for help is an act of humility and shows self-awareness.
2. Assess your parents’ needs
The first step in caring for aging parents is to assess their needs. What activities of daily living (ADLs) can they do themselves, and which do they need help with? Some ADLs include:
As you start supporting elderly parents, write down everything you help them do and when. For instance, maybe your mother can move around fine during the day but needs help at night getting to the bathroom. Keep a care journal for a month to capture everything you do for them on both a daily and monthly basis, such as bill pay.
Once you’ve thoroughly evaluated the situation, you’ll know what to expect and how you can best help them. You can also use your notes as a baseline, tracking any health changes you notice over time.
3. Prioritize home safety
Whether your parents live with you or alone, start by identifying any safety hazards around their residence. More than one out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a major concern. To minimize risks such as falling, consider making the following adjustments around your parent’s home:
- Clear walkways of clutter, rugs, and cords
- Install railings to stairways
- Add grab bars in the bathroom
- Place non-slip strips in the shower/tub
- Add nightlights around the house
- Lock medications in a drawer or cabinet
If your elderly parent is living with dementia, move locks above or below eye level on exterior doors and remove locks on interior doors to prevent them from locking themselves in.
4. Get help for aging parents
Although supporting elderly parents may be feasible now, it will eventually get to a point where they need more specialized care on a regular basis. You’ll know when that day comes if you begin saying things like, “I need help caring for my mother” or “My mother needs home care.”
You don’t want to resent your parents, so get help for aging parents before you burn yourself out. Here are a few ways you can reduce the stress of caregiving while still supporting elderly parents:
- Enroll your parent in an adult daycare program
- Hire an in-home caregiver
- Find a senior companion
- Use a respite care service
- Ask family members to help out
Select the best option based on your loved one’s needs and how you’re feeling. If you just need a break for a few days, consider respite care. If you want a professional to take on the role of caregiver, get in touch with an in-home care agency like Commonwise Home Care.
How Do I Get Home Care for My Mother? Contact Commonwise
As a premier home care company, Commonwise provides the services of compassionate, trained in-home caregivers in Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA, and Charleston, SC. We’re committed to preserving the health and independence of older adults wherever they call home.
If you’re saying, “I need help caring for my mother/father,” get in touch with us. We understand the burden placed on family caregivers, and we want to help alleviate it. Our expert care managers work with families to thoroughly assess your aging loved ones’ needs and then recommend the best type of care for them.
Whether you have questions about home care or are ready to get help for aging parents, we’d be honored to serve your family in whatever ways we can.