There’s no greater example of the circle of life than the role reversal of a parent caring for a child to the child caring for their parents. This switch is always inevitable. As our loved ones age, they encounter several health issues, lack of mobility, and the need for additional care and medical attention. If you’ve never looked after an aging parent, this can be a very stressful time. But there are ways to handle your emotional stress while also giving your loved one the care and attention they need.
Evaluate Your Living Situation
Often times if a parent or loved one can no longer live alone, a child takes this responsibility on themselves. Whether this means moving in with the parent or making room for your loved one in your own home. If your ailing parent needs constant care and attention, you may consider quitting your job to care for them full-time. Of course, this isn’t always an option for people. But if you can afford to take some time off or work from home, you may just be the caregiver your parent needs most. Another benefit to caring for your parents yourself is that you know them better than anyone. You can guarantee they will receive quality, compassionate, and thorough care. Not to mention, you’ll have the opportunity to spend some of their last days with them.
Research Benefit Options
It’s important to know and understand the medical benefits that your ailing parent has access to. This means what type of medical coverage they have, what expenses their policy covers, and any services they offer. Medicare and Medicaid are the two most common insurance policies for individuals over the age of 65. But be advised that Medicare does not cover nursing home fees. Other expenses to consider include cost of medication, copays, and out of pocket limitations. You should also find out if your parent has Medigap coverage, which is a medical insurance policy in addition to Medicare to help offset expenses that aren’t covered.
Renovate Their Home
If your parent is adamant about staying in their own home and doing it themselves, there are some home renovations you can make to create a safe environment for them. Depending on your parent’s limitations, installing a ramp or widening doorways can help those individuals using a wheelchair or walker navigate more easily. You may also want to install handrails in the shower and near the toilet, which offer support and reduce the risk of slips and falls. Some individuals may benefit from adding a raised seat to the toilet, making it easier for them to lower themselves down and a seat in the shower, where they can bathe sitting down versus standing up. All of these renovations can help keep your aging parent safe and feeling independent and in control of their life.
Ask for Help
Hopefully, you are not the only person in your elderly loved one’s life. This means asking for help. Whether it’s another family member, friend or neighbor, don’t be afraid to ask others to help. This might mean taking your parent to their doctor appointment, dropping off groceries or simply spending time with them so they avoid feeling lonely and depressed. Taking on the entire burden yourself can lead to extreme stress and unhealthy feelings of resent toward your loved one. You want your time together to be positive. Avoid feeling overwhelmed reaching out to helpful resources around you.
Hire Professional Assistance
If you’re unable to care for your aging parent and they are incapable of taking care of themselves, you may need to bring in professional help. There are countless in-home care services to choose from including companies like CareBuilders at Home. These services are established to offer in-home care for your loved one. One of the greatest benefits of using this type of service is that your parent can age with dignity and comfort in their own home. They will feel less put-out and more at ease. This may even aid in their healing process and help them remain calm. In-home care companies range in price and services. The services you require will depend on your parent’s condition and needs. Some companies have nurses and other qualified individuals who simply visit your love one’s home during the day to monitor them and administer medications. For more severe cases, at-home nurses are available for 24 hour a day care.
Talk About It
The worst thing you can do is deny that your parent or loved one is in need of assistance or is aging. Aging is a natural process that everyone goes through. With age comes medical complications and ailing health. By ignoring these signs and symptoms, you aren’t helping your parent. In fact, their condition can worsen and lead to death or injury if untreated. The first step in getting your parent the help they need is to simply talk about the situation. Sit down with your parent in a comfortable, non-threatening place to discuss their needs and their desires. It’s best to listen to what your parent wants before making suggestions or decisions. They want to feel heard and know that their opinion and desires matter. Although you may not be able to take the course of action they want, it’s important to discuss all options before making a decision. The more calmly and honestly you approach the situation, the easier it will be for your parent to accept their reality.
This goes hand-in-hand with talking about your parent’s situation and needs. You need to be realistic about the type of care your loved one needs and what options are available. If you know that it’s impossible for you to quit your job to care for your parent or move them into your home, then you can eliminate these as options and move on to different alternatives. It’s never easy to accept that your parent’s health is declining and that they’re looking to you for guidance and support. After all, they’re the parent and they should be the one taking care of you. But as time goes on, you need to accept the reality that you will be caring for your parents in their final days. Accepting this is one of the first steps in offering your loved one the resources and help they so desperately need. The more honest and realistic you are about the situation, the better.
It’s never easy to watch your parents grow old or watch their health fail, but sadly, it’s a reality that many people must face. These tips can help make the process easier for both you and your loved one. Face your reality, approach the subject with care and compassion, and don’t hesitate to ask for help and utilize available resources.
Article Submitted By Community Writer