How to Take Care of Your Parents in Their Old Age
Taking care of the elderly in your home can be challenging, especially if you’re an adult child helping to care for aging parents.
When it comes to caring for an aging parent in your home, there are many things to consider and preparations to make. Additionally, you may not feel like you have the time or ability to take care of your parents in their old age.
With caregiving comes extra responsibilities, expenses, and stress.
So, how do you take care of things for elderly parents at home?
If you’re looking for elderly care tips, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re providing expert advice on how to care for an elderly person at home. As you read, you’ll receive some practical “taking care of aging parents” tips and learn about the benefits of professional in-home caregiving for your elderly parents.
Taking Care of the Elderly in Your Home: 5 Elderly Care Tips
Elderly adults want to age in the comfort of their home, but sometimes that’s not possible. Often, the next best spot for them is in one of their adult children’s homes.
But as an adult child, you may not know how to care for an elderly person (like mom or dad) in your home.
If you’re unsure how to take care of your parents in their old age in your home, here are five expert “taking care of aging parents” tips.
1. Assess Your Parents’ Needs
The first thing that you’ll want to do when helping to care for aging parents is to assess their needs.
Take some time to observe your parents’ daily habits and ability to function on their own:
- Can your parents move around independently?
- Are your parents able to bathe, dress, feed themselves, and perform other daily tasks on their own?
- Do your parents have medications or serious medical conditions that require regular attention?
- Can your mom or dad still drive themselves to and from places?
- Are there any signs of dementia or mental decline?
Knowing your parents’ needs and limitations can help you understand what level of care they’ll need. The more assistance they require with daily tasks and activities, the more involved you may need to be in providing hands-on care.
2. Make Necessary Home Safety Adjustments
The second step you’ll want to take when caring for an aging parent in your home is to ensure your home is safe.
One of the most important safety adjustments to make is in regard to fall prevention. Falls are very common for elderly adults, as one out of every four seniors falls each year. In addition, falls can lead to serious injury or hospitalization, with more than 90% of hip fractures occurring because of falls.
Some elderly care tips to help prevent falls in your home include:
- Installing or tightening handrails on stairs
- Placing non-slip mats on stairs and in the bathroom
- Providing your parents with one-story living to avoid stairs
- Keeping rooms well-lit and free of clutter
- Helping them learn to use a cane or other assistive device
There are other safety issues that you may need to address, like taking the keys away from parents or monitoring them if they’re prone to wander. However, fall prevention should be a top priority when taking care of the elderly in your home.
3. Ensure Your Parents Medical, Social, Emotional, and Physical Needs Are Met
Now that you’ve assessed your parents’ needs and made your home safe for them, it’s time to help meet their needs.
Some of the various needs your parents might have could include:
- Medical: Things like medication reminders or transportation to/from doctor’s visits are tasks your aging parents may require assistance with.
- Social: Regardless of age, we all need opportunities to interact with others our own age. Help your parents find different ways to meet people and build relationships.
- Emotional: Depression isn’t a normal part of aging, but it is common in elderly adults. Monitor your parents’ mood to make sure they aren’t experiencing serious emotional fluctuations, and look for professional help if they do seem to have depression.
- Physical: A good diet and regular exercise are necessary for people of all ages, but they can be especially beneficial for elderly adults to help maintain overall health.
Your parents may have other specific needs and it’s important to take time to consider their whole person.
4. Monitor Your Parents’ Health and Needs
Conditions and needs can change quickly, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your parents’ overall health.
- Is their mobility decreasing? They may need in-home physical therapy to maintain their strength. In addition, a cane or other assistive device could increase their confidence in moving around.
- Are they tentative to drive at certain times of the day or at all? It might be time to start talking with them about giving up their keys and making preparations for their transportation.
- Do your parents forget new names or places? They might be experiencing mental decline or the start of dementia.
The above questions are simply examples of what it might look like to evaluate your parents’ overall needs and concerns.
As your parents’ needs change or health declines, they may need increasing levels of care—care that you may not be able to provide them on your own.
5. Seek Professional In-home Care
At some point, taking care of the elderly in your home may be something that you can’t handle on your own.
Fortunately, there are professional caregiving services for your elderly parents. These agencies provide your aging parents with a highly-trained personal caregiver.
In-home caregivers provide hands-on help to seniors. They go to the client’s home and assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
ADLs are essential self-care tasks such as:
IADLs are slightly more complex activities that are more auxiliary to life and include tasks like:
- Handling transportation
- Managing finances
- Meal prep
- Medication reminders
So whether your loved one requires assistance with ADLs, IADLs, or both, finding an in-home caregiver can greatly improve their quality of life.
In addition, in-home caregivers relieve family caregiver burden and stress. While the caregiver looks after your parents, you can focus on your own responsibilities and rest assured that mom and dad have an experienced caregiver looking after them.
The Best Caregiving Services for Your Elderly Parents
Taking care of elderly parents in their old age is something that many adult children find themselves doing. However, most people aren’t prepared when it comes to helping to care for aging parents.
If you’re caring for an aging parent in your home but aren’t sure how to take care of your parents in their old age, five actions you can take are:
- Assessing your parents’ needs to determine their care needs
- Making necessary home adjustments to ensure safety
- Ensuring your parents’ overall health needs are met
- Monitoring your parents’ health and needs over time
- Seeking professional in-home caregiving services
Taking care of the elderly in your home can often leave you feeling exhausted and burned out, especially as your parents age and their needs increase.
Fortunately, you don’t have to care for your parents alone. There are in-home care companies that know how to care for an elderly person when you don’t.
At Commonwise Home Care in Virginia and South Carolina, we specialize in providing elder care to aging seniors. Our Care Managers work with you to create a personalized care plan just for your loved one. Then, highly-trained caregivers enter into your parents’ home to put the plan into action. And with our list of comprehensive services ranging from respite care a few hours a week to 24/7 care, there’s no care need we can’t help meet.
Contact us today to hear more about how professional in-home caregiving services for your elderly parents can improve their quality of life and relieve your caregiver burden.