Studies show that 10% of adults aged 60 to 69 whose parents are still living will serve as their caregivers. Often, their parents who have reached their 80s are more likely to deal with chronic illnesses and other disabilities. More and more opt-out of facility placement and help their parents stay at home. Tips for caring for elderly parents at home can make this choice even easier.
Caring for elderly parents at home can be one of the most challenging, but fulfilling things you can do for those who once cared for you.
Feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin? In this article, we will go over the seven most effective tips for being a home-based caregiver to your parents.
1. Don't Let Caring for Elderly Parents Take Over Your Life
One of the most important tips to follow when taking care of your aging parents is not to let caregiving take over your life. Often, people who are caregivers for their parents begin to feel powerless and burn out.
Caregiver burnout can make it difficult for you to prioritize your mental health and set boundaries as a caregiver.
Because of this, it is important to still invest in yourself. If there are things that give your life meaning, you make time for them, whether this is a hobby, your career, your family, or anything else.
2. Choose the Right Living Arrangements
Next, it is important that you and your parents choose the right living arrangements. If your parents are living alone, it is important that they live close to you or other supportive family members or friends.
Being close to them is one of the best tips for caring for elderly parents at home, plus it helps avoid paying long-distance caregivers. If you don't live close, we recommend contacting your parents' Area Agency on Aging or a local senior center to discuss the best financial options for you.
You should also discuss whether your parents are open to living in an independent or assisted living community so they remain active and independent, while still getting the level of care they need.
In other cases, your aging parents may need to live with you or another relative. This will give them the constant support they need. When choosing living arrangements for your parents, consider their health needs and your abilities as a caregiver.
3. Consider Your Finances
To support your parents, you may need government assistance or other types of financial support. You may even be eligible for tax relief when you claim an elderly parent as your dependent.
While some people can leave their jobs to care for their parents full-time, others simply cannot afford this. In these cases, you may ask, "will Medicare pay me for taking care of my parents?" This is possible, so you may need to find out if you or your family are eligible for this type of financial support.
Considering your financial situation when caring for your parents is essential, as it will help you determine how much help you can afford.
4. Prioritize Mental Health
Next, you need to prioritize mental health for both you and your parents. It is common for aging adults to struggle with depression or other mental health issues. Because of this, you must learn how to spot the signs of mental health issues in older adults.
Often, they will become frustrated with their health problems or worry about their finances. You should also be aware of changes in their mood, energy levels, and other habits.
It is also important that you prioritize your own mental health. Taking care of yourself will allow you to provide better care for your aging parents. Mental health care is often one of the most overlooked tips for caring for elderly parents at home for parents and their caregivers.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries will help you care for your own needs, while still caring for your aging parents at home. It will help you establish expectations of your care and will help you have mutual respect with your parents.
For example, you may not feel equipped to help your parents with personal care. This includes bathing, toileting, and other basic hygiene needs. If you do not feel comfortable aiding with this part of your parent's care, you can get help from in-home care providers.
To have good boundaries, ensure you are realistic, firm, and clearly communicate your expectations.
6. Find Supportive Resources
It is also important to find supportive resources to help you with your aging parents. Often, you can find Area Agencies on Aging that offer services for homebound elderly adults and their caregivers to help share in the responsibilities, as well as give you much-needed breaks to care for yourself.
For example, these services include care coordination, home care services, transportation, meals on wheels, and more.
7. Get Caregiving Help
Finally, you may need caregiving help. When you attempt to take care of your parents on your own without getting the help of others, it can lead to caregiver burnout and other forms of stress. There are many types of in-home care services that can help your parents with housework, meal preparation, and even transportation.
When you get this additional help, your elderly parents can stay independent for as long as possible while getting the quality of care you want and they need.
While these services might have some additional costs, they can provide professional health care that you may not be able to offer.
Need Tips for Caring for Elderly Parents at Home? We Can Help
When you are the primary caregiver for your aging parents, it is important that you are prepared and find the best ways to help them. By following each of these tips for caring for elderly parents at home, you can avoid caregiver burnout while still being there for your parents.
Are you wondering, "how can I help my aging parents?" Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging can help! We offer advice on caring for elderly parents and can help you find elder care services.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and get help for your caring for elderly parents' stress.