Do your parents live with you or close by? If they need physical and emotional help, the tips below can help you care for them in the best ways possible.
Accept That Things are Different Now
While they’re still your parents, they’re frailer now than before, and that’s tough to see. When you were a kid, you likely thought they were invincible, and now you see that they are aging and cannot handle all the same tasks as before.
But rather than focusing on what’s not as strong as before about them, instead, look at what you’re gaining as you all spend time together as a family. If you have kids, encourage them to spend time with their grandparents to learn from their life experiences and create a bond.
If your mom or dad has recently moved in with you or changed locations, then they will need time to adjust to the new surroundings. Allow them to get used to having you as a caregiver as it’s a role reversal for you to be the one helping them rather than the other way around.
While there will be tough moments, other times, it will be a rewarding experience as you learn more about one another through the time spent together. Let things happen naturally and see what feels right in terms of how you help them and discovering what they need from you.
Furthermore, it may take time for your siblings and other family members to get on board with the care plan. Keep them updated along the journey; they may want to step in and help, which can be useful if you’re balancing a career and kids on top of caregiving.
Also, reach out to your siblings for help financially if you’re not able to take on all the associated costs with taking care of an aging loved one. While it can be emotionally challenging, it is also financially so.
You may be able to get tax relief by claiming a senior parent as a dependant. You might be able to deduct medical expenses too. If you’re not sure what qualifies then seek out a local tax agency to find out more.
Maintaining Their Dignity
While you want to provide your mom or dad with the best quality of life possible, it’s important not to hurt their dignity in the process. Helping them with daily living tasks, such as feeding and showering, if they need it, can be demoralizing and embarrassing for anyone.
If they do not want your help with these essential activities, or if more care is needed than you realized, reach out to a professional caregiver for help. See what other solutions are available to the elderly in the local community as well to ensure they get the necessary care.
Allow your loved one to age with grace and hold onto their sense of confidence. You’re there to help not to tell them that they are inferior or incompetent.
Be respectful as you help them with tasks such as getting in and out of the car, going to the bathroom, bathing, and brushing their teeth. If they’re not in need of help with these things, then do know that they might need you in the future for the intimate tasks.
Finding Out Personal Details
When you are a caregiver for your mom or dad, the chances are good that you’ll find out things about them that you hadn’t known before. While sometimes these details are ones that bring you closer together, such as a cute story about when you were a child that they share with you, other times it can be awkward.
For instance, you may not know that they take medications for certain conditions until you are the ones administering them. An infection in a private part of the body could be embarrassing for both of you.
When it comes to medications, you will also have to ensure that they receive the correct ones with accurate instructions. Also, make sure that they take the proper dosage at the right time of day.
Unfortunately, medication and pharmacy errors happen, as do surgery complications. If your senior parent suffers an injury as the result of the negligence of medical professionals, such as a doctor or pharmacist, seek out a surgical injury lawyer.
The responsibility you feel for ensuring the best care for your parent shows the affection you have toward him or her. Just make sure that you reach out for help when you need it as getting burned out by caring for a parent around the clock won’t help them or you.
To Live with You, Or Not?
Deciding whether to move a senior parent into your home is a big one. There are many expenses, and also commitments of time and energy, that come with moving in a parent.
To help you decide if it’s the right step for your family, think about what kind of care is needed, given their mental and physical competencies. If your loved one is in good health, then they likely are still highly independent and won’t require a lot of extra care.
However, a senior with a major health issue can mean that they require help 24/7, and an assisted-care home could be a better option if you have a job or other commitments. Ask yourself if you are ready to help them in the middle of the night and whether they will let you bathe them. You might have to put your life on hold for them.
If you ask yourself tough questions and still want them to live with you, then perhaps an in-home care worker could help with tasks. Also ask your spouse for help, if you have one; they may not understand you need assistance and they’ll want to contribute to the household more once they do know it.
Reaching out for help can be hard. But know it’s not a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s a step to take some of the pressure off your shoulders so you can still have some time to yourself while also providing the best care possible to your aging parent.