Advice: Taking Care of Senior Parents
If your parents are getting older, you might be looking for senior care advice. Figuring out what your aging parents need, knowing your options, having tough discussions with family, and making decisions can be overwhelming. In this article, we have some advice on senior care, particularly as it comes to dealing with the familial discussions and issues that can come with it.
Access Your Parent’s Needs
Knowing what to do when you’re helping take care of mom and dad can be overwhelming. You might not even know about what they need in their everyday life because there’s simply too much to consider. It can help by breaking this into categories initially.
Consider these 8 key areas:
- Family support
- Home safety
- Medical needs
- Cognitive health
- Personal hygiene
- Meal preparation
- Social interaction
Think about your parents in this context. How much support do they have access to in each of these areas? Where are they struggling? What life changes might need to be made in order for them to receive adequate support?
For instance, if you have a parent who can no longer drive a car, mobility is an issue. If you can’t drive them yourself, you could hire a driver to help them get to the doctor or to the grocery store. If your parent is experiencing cognitive decline, hygiene and meal preparation might become issues — in this case, an in-home caregiver or a nursing facility are considerations.
Access Your Time and Abilities
You don’t have to do this alone. No matter the type of assistance your parents need, consider how you can really be of help. Do you live nearby? Do you have space and financial resources to have them live with you? Are you willing to learn how to provide care?
It’s not selfish to know that you might not be the best person to look after your parents alone. That’s what resources like in-home caregivers are for, in many situations. By helping your parents manage these things while looking out for their health and safety, you are giving them the support they need.
Keep in mind that your parents will want to be involved in the process. No one wants to lose autonomy over their life. If they’re mentally capable, work with them as a partner to assess their needs for late-in-life care. Unless there is an emergency, you can likely get them on board by focusing on a few different changes at a time.
How to Work with Siblings
If your siblings won’t help you with your elderly parents, you might be frustrated. This is understandable! Start by focusing on what they are able to do, first and foremost. If they live far away from you and your parents, it might be most practical for them to provide financial support, as moving isn’t always an option. On the other hand, it’s unfair for siblings who live far away to assume that just because someone lives close or doesn’t work full time should be taking the brunt of the responsibility. The sibling that lives the closest can certainly check on their parent’s wellbeing, as they will be familiar with their lives. Be sure to have a family discussion to determine who will be shouldering what types of responsibility.
Be sure to communicate with your siblings, as well. You might have different opinions as to what kind of care your parents need, or a sibling may not know where to start or how to ask for help. Communicate with each other to ensure you’re on the same page.
Always get an expert opinion. Make sure that you’re involved with your parents’ doctor so you’re aware of what they need to stay safe and healthy. It can help prevent arguments about what is necessary.
Be Prepared for Aging
Keep in mind that as parents get older, their needs will change and you might need the support of professionals. Even if your parents are happy and healthy now, needs can change at any time. Be prepared for this — it could be helpful to have a family discussion to determine how to proceed with care as mom and dad get older.
Getting To Be Too Much? Feeling overwhelmed?
You’re not alone. At Copeland Oaks, we treat all of our residents with the compassion and care we would a family member. We have a variety of living options for independent seniors, for those who need a little extra day-to-day help, and for those who need full-time care. Contact us today or schedule a visit.