Caring for elderly parents is no small task. There are a host of emotions that come with this responsibility, some positive and some negative.
As an adult child, it can be complicated to deal with the role reversal and be in charge of your parent’s well-being. The process of caretaking, with all of the doctor’s appointments, dietary restrictions, and health issues that come with aging, can also seem overwhelming to an adult child.
Fortunately, by following a few tips, you can carry this responsibility with ease and reduce stress for both you and your parents.
If you are caring for your elderly parents, or are entering that stage of life, here are 11 tips to help you along the way.
1. Have a Conversation With Your Parents
Caring for aging parents can be tricky, especially if your parents are not understanding that they need extra help. While it can be uncomfortable, the best thing to do is sit down with your parents and talk to them about their situation and what will be happening in the future.
Getting on the same page with them as soon as possible will only ease the stress and frustration of the situation.
2. Consult With Your Siblings
If you have siblings, taking care of aging parents is likely going to be a joint effort.
Talk to your siblings and decide on the important details like the division of responsibilities, if your parents will be moving in with a certain child or how the financial responsibilities will be handled. Keep a calm and clear head during this time as this can be a confusing and scary talk to have.
3. Make Use of Resources and Benefits
A great tip for how to care for aging parents is to take advantage of all of the resources and benefits available to you. There is a range of resources for seniors, including companion programs, nutritional assistance programs, housing, and even senior legal aid. Check with your state to see what resources and benefits are available.
4. Know When It’s Time for Assisted Living
When is it time for assisted living for your aging parents? Assisted living is not just for seniors who need help in their day-to-day, it’s also ideal for seniors who want to stay active, have a healthy social life, and have added support when necessary.
Knowing when it’s time for assisted living is essential when caring for your elderly parents.
5. Create a Budget
The financial responsibility of taking care of your parents can be overwhelming, especially if your parents are in a tough financial situation. Creating and following a budget is ideal in these situations, as it gives you a quick way to know what you can afford and what you can’t. A budget is a great way to help your parents manage their money during this stage in their life.
6. Meal Plan and Meal Prep
An essential part of parent caring is helping them with meal planning and meal prepping. Helping your parents with their meals is important to make sure they are eating enough of the right type of food during the day.
Meal prepping is also great if you are worried about them leaving on the stove or hurting themselves with sharp items in the kitchen.
7. Make Their Home Safe and Accessible
It’s important to make sure your parent’s home is safe and accessible. As they age, tasks like walking up the stairs, getting in and out of the shower, and getting off a sofa or a chair can become more and more difficult. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks you can use to convert their house into a senior-friendly home.
8. Get Their Legal Affairs in Order
While it may be uncomfortable, it’s important to help your parents get their legal affairs in order, if they haven’t already.
At some point, they may need a power of attorney, living will, healthcare proxy, will, and other legal documents to make sure they are taken care of and their wishes are being honored.
9. Organize Their Medical Care
Aging parents often have many different prescriptions to take, multiple doctors to visit and they may even need physical therapy or other types of therapies.
Keeping track of all of the moving parts is a big task but one that is essential to ensure your parents are as healthy as possible.
Organizing their medical care is a great way to stay on top of everything and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. While it may take some time initially, you won’t regret taking this important step.
10. Consider Professional Help
At some point, you may need to consider hiring professional help to assist you in caretaking your parents.
A health aid or a companion can help lighten your responsibilities while providing excellent care for your parents. If your parents are experiencing serious health problems, consider hiring a nurse to assist you with their medical care. Enlisting help is beneficial for you and provides a new experience for your parents, which is a win-win overall.
11. Take Care of Yourself
Even though you love your parents, taking care of them full-time can lead to stress, depression, and burn out. These are normal feelings to have so don’t feel guilty for experiencing them.
You do need to make sure you are practicing self-care to avoid being overwhelmed by these feelings. If you are having a difficult time, consider taking advantage of resources that offer support and care for those who are caretakers.
Ultimately, you cannot do a good job taking care of your parents if you are not taking care of yourself so don’t put self-care on the back burner.
Caring for Elderly Parents Can Be Tough
Caring for elderly parents is ultimately an act of love that can bring you and your parents closer together.
By enlisting help, organizing their schedule, and using the various resources and benefits available, you can successfully care for your parents and give them the quality of life they deserve.
Remember to take care of yourself during this time, as you cannot help anyone if you are not in good mental, physical, and emotional health. By using these tips, you can ease into this stage of life with confidence and hope.
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