If your aging parents need help to stay safe and healthy, you might be unsure about how to handle the situation.
Use these 7 steps to turn the vague problem of “my aging parents need help” into a practical, realistic plan to help mom or dad be as healthy and happy as possible.
1 Assess your parent’s needs
Caring for a parent can feel overwhelming because you’re not sure exactly what needs to be done. To solve that problem, take a step back to understand how much help your parent needs with everyday life.
Think about 8 key areas:
- Family support
- Home safety
- Medical needs
- Cognitive health
- Personal hygiene
- Meal preparation
- Social interaction
How much support are they already getting in each category and how much help do they realistically need to stay safe and healthy.
2 Think about your own needs and abilities
Before you make the assumption that you can take care of all your parent’s needs by yourself, stop and think about your own situation and abilities.
- Does your health allow you to physically care for someone?
- Do you live close enough to visit as often as needed?
- Would you want to live with them, either in their house or yours?
- Are you willing to learn how to provide that care?
- Do you have the kind of relationship that allows you to spend a lot of time together without creating a lot of negative feelings on either side?
- Do you have the personality to provide the type of care they need?
We want our parents to be safe and healthy, and it’s not selfish or heartless if you’re not the best person to personally provide that care.
3 Include your parent in the process
Nobody wants to lose control of their life, especially someone who’s already concerned about losing independence.
That’s why it’s so important to involve your parent as much as possible when you’re planning for their care.
This helps them see you more as a partner rather than someone who’s swooping in to make changes.
As long as they’re not in immediate danger, try not to force changes too quickly.
4 Understand the financial situation
No matter what, caring for an older adult will cost money.
Once you have an idea of their financial position, you’ll know if they’ll be able to afford the care they need or if they’ll need financial help.
Government programs, Medicaid, and other programs are available to help pay for long term care.
5 Take care of home safety basics
Safety hazards in the house add up over time, making it easier for older adults to trip, fall, or hurt themselves.
Preventing falls will go a long way to keeping your parent independent for as long as possible.
Simple fixes include:
- Making sure all floors and walkways are clear of clutter, cords, and rugs
- Adding grab bars in the bathroom and stair railings throughout
- Updating lights so all rooms are bright and switches are easily accessible
- Ensuring all appliances work well and are within easy reach
- Minimizing the need to use step-stools or bend down low
6 Make sure communication is simple and accessible
Another thing that keeps your parent safe is the ability to easily call for help and keep in touch with family and friends.
Make sure their phone is easy to use and easily accessible.
Or, if your parent is open to the idea, consider a wearable medical alert device.
7 Explore available aging care options
Even after breaking down the steps, caring for your parent can be an overwhelming responsibility.
Fortunately, there are many aging care options and helpful resources you can rely on.
- Geriatric care managers
- In-home caregiving help
- Assisted living communities
- Geriatricians (geriatric doctors)
- Area Agency on Aging
Special thanks to content contributor: DailyCaring
See full article HERE.