Growing old is tough, not just because it’s taxing on your body, but also because there are fewer opportunities to get involved with the community. That’s why many aging parents stay home most of the time. As their child, it’s important to become familiar with the best ways to care for the elderly.
That’s exactly what we’ll help you with today! You don’t have to send your aging parents away, they can receive care in their own homes. Not just from you, but from elderly care professionals who can support you and your aging parents. Without further ado, let’s discuss 5 important things to remember when caring for the elderly at home.
5 Best Ways to Care for the Elderly
Assess the Needs of Your Aging Parents and Take Stock of Your Skills
Any good guide on how to cope with taking care of elderly parents will tell you that taking on too much too soon will overwhelm you. That’s why one of the most essential things to do is assess your aging parent’s needs. This will allow you to be realistic about what you can provide. Whatever gaps are left can be filled with programs, benefits, and other available resources.
To assess your aging parent’s needs, you must focus on certain key areas. Including home safety, medical needs, mobility, nutrition, personal hygiene, cognitive health, social interaction, and family support.
Think of each of these categories in turn and determine how much support your aging parents are already getting. Then, determine how much support they need to remain safe and healthy. A caring for aging parents checklist can help tremendously, so we encourage you to use it as a guide.
Once you know what your aging parents need, you can determine how much of it you can handle on your own without affecting your own life and all the responsibilities that come with it. If anything is out of your capacity, be honest with yourself and with your parent so you can find the best solutions.
Get Their Finances in Order
Needless to say, the financial impact of caring for the elderly at home can’t be overlooked. As such, you need to get both your and your parent’s finances in order. This will help you determine how much of their care you can cover and how much help you’ll need.
Is there financial assistance for seniors? Absolutely! Elderly people may be eligible for a variety of programs, including government programs, and benefits that are meant to offset your aging parents’ living expenses.
So, what government programs are available for seniors? Well, there’s a great variety of them. For example, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, BenefitsCheckUp, IRS Elderly Tax Credit, and more. Click here to learn more about family caregiver support in central Arkansas.
Get Familiar with ADLs and IADLs
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are both very important when it comes to caring for senior parents at home. ADLs are the essential activities that help maintain the dignity and physical/emotional well-being of your elderly parents.
Overall, ADLs ensure that the daily living requirements your parents need are achieved. These activities include tasks of functional mobility, such as getting in and out of chairs, beds, etc., dressing, self-feeding, showering or bathing, personal hygiene, and toilet hygiene, which refers to self-cleaning, getting to and from the toilet, etc.
Aging parents whose mobility is impaired and who have health issues struggle with ADLs and need to recieve the appropriate help. You can provide care yourself, hire a qualified professional to work at home with them, or invest in equipment and accessories to help them perform these activities on their own.
IADLs are not necessarily essential, but these activities still relate to the independent functioning of senior adults. That includes cooking, meal prepping, cleaning, house maintenance, purchasing necessities, running errands, money management, taking prescribed medication, and more. These activities must be taken care of as well and using technological devices may be of great help.
Avoid Stretching Yourself Too Thin
Stretching yourself too thin won’t help anyone, especially your aging parents. Caring for elderly parents at home can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. However, doing it all on your own is not the best game plan. You will need help.
For example, you can enroll your aging parent in an adult day program where they can socialize and be taken care of while you take a break for the day. There are also volunteer senior programs that can be of great help. Of course, hiring an in-home caregiver will also be helpful, but you need to find the right fit.
Moreover, asking family members and close friends to help with errands will lessen your load. For instance, they can help run errands, drive your parents to doctor’s appointments, prepare meals, do some light housekeeping, or do anything else that can be of help. It takes a village!
Take Full Advantage of Available Resources and Services
One of the best ways to care for the elderly is to take advantage of the available resources and services that are meant to improve their lives. Care coordination will help you do that, so it’s a good investment to make, and your elderly loved one may even qualify for this service to be of no cost to you. As you can imagine, there are plenty of services and resources to choose from.
When it comes to senior care services, the options include home care services, meals on wheels to maintain proper nutrition, personal care services, veteran assistance, senior centers, in-home respite care, and so much more.
There are also opportunities for seniors to enjoy fun and engaging activities, fitness classes, and volunteer programs that allow them to still be a part of the community, meet new people, and socialize beyond their inner circle of loved ones and caregivers.
As a caretaker, there’s a lot that goes into making sure your senior parents are safe and taken care of at home. If you don’t want to miss anything, we recommend you use this caring for aging parents checklist as a guide. Have any questions or need any further assistance? Don’t hesitate to contact us! We’ll be very happy to help.