Most of us will face it at some point – caring for elderly parents. There comes a time when children have a responsibility to look after those who loved and raised them. However, caring for elderly parents requires planning, support and acceptance from everyone involved to help make things as stress-free as possible. With that in mind, here are some quick tips that will help you in the process of caring for your elderly parents (useful resources can be found at the end of this article):
- Discuss It Early
It’s natural for us to put off talking about difficulty subjects like the need for personal care, with those we love, and one of those difficult subjects is that of aging parents need for extra personal support. This discussion raises worries about the loss of independence, respect and dignity, so the sooner you have this discussion with your elderly parents, the sooner these worries can be dealt with. It’s a good idea to discuss long-term care needs with your elderly parents whilst they are still healthy, have full capacity and have an idea of what they expect out of life as they age. Once your elderly parents become seriously ill, it can become much more difficult and challenging to have an informed discussion about their desires and needs.
- Financial Planning
One of the main reasons for discussing the long-term care options with your elderly parents early is so that you can jointly develop a financial plan that will help meet their needs as they age. Whether your elderly parents will need care at home, or more intensive care within a residential or nursing environment, you need to know how these will be paid for. Your elderly parents may already have funds set aside for such contingences, or you may need help with these expenses from your local authority, but it’s important to explore the financial aspects of long-term care before they become a financial burden.
- Manage Stress
Seeing someone you love begin to struggle to do simple tasks in front of your eyes can become worrying and stressful, even more so if you’re finding it difficult to meet their needs in addition to managing your own life activities. It is important that you manage your own levels of stress through the use of family support or the aid of care providers, for example with respite care, in order to prevent burning out as a carer, and to help your elderly parents remain comfortable and avoid bad emotional vibes.
- Dignity and Respect
Whilst you may be feeling the stress, do remember that at this stage in your elderly parent’s life, it is no picnic for them either. This is especially true as their minds and bodies begin to betray them. It is important to continue treating your elderly parents with respect in every throughout this period of their lives, to help make things easier and more comfortable for them during their golden years.
- Don’t Do It Alone
Caring for elderly parents will be much easier if you have help, whether that be from siblings, other family members or trusted friends. Make sure they take a share of the duties, even if it is as simple as spending some extra time with your elderly parents. If you need further help, consider using a trusted home care provider, so that your loved ones get the quality of care they need while still remaining independent. This will also give you more opportunities to spend quality time with them instead of simply taking care of their everyday needs.
- Have a Long-term Plan
At some point, there will come a time when your elderly parents require more intensive care beyond what you can provide within your own resources, so you may need to consider more involved care at home or the use of a residential care home. Have a plan for when this eventuality to reduce the stress of trying to handle these kinds of demands as they occur.
Caring for anyone, let alone a loved one, can be a challenging and rewarding experience. These helpful tips and resources will help make this experience a more rewarding one for all involved.
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