5 Ways to Help Your Aging Parents at Home

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As parents age, they start needing help with daily tasks such as meal preparation, medication management, and health-care decisions. Although the need for support is apparent, most older adults refrain from seeking help from their adult children for fear of losing their independence. Taking care of elderly parents at home can be challenging, especially when they feel it’s overbearing. Here’s how you can approach this subject and find different ways of helping your parents at home. 

Essential Tips for Adult Children Caring for Elderly Parents

It isn’t very easy for most seniors to admit to their adult children that they need help. Hence it is essential to ease into caregiving while your loved ones are sufficiently independent. Taking care of elderly parents at home is emotionally rewarding. However, it is also taxing and requires patience and assessing what you can and can’t do.

So, how do you help your parents? Here are a few things to consider:

1. Evaluate how much they need help 

Determine how much care an elderly parent requires. Taking on too much responsibility too soon is a sure way to being overwhelmed by the commitment and losing sight of the bigger picture. Making a list of daily, weekly and monthly tasks will help you understand the type of care needed. 

2. Know what you can provide 

Once you know your parents’ needs, figure out how much of it you can take up without additional help. Communicate honestly about tasks that are beyond your capacity. Be genuine about how much care you can provide without sacrificing your own health, relationships, and other responsibilities.

3. Get the help you need

Do not feel guilty about asking for help for the tasks you can’t manage. Find the help you can afford. Getting the best services for taking care of elderly parents may take time and effort initially, but it’s an investment that will help in the long run.

4. Share the responsibility

Take a break from time to time and do not shy away from sharing the responsibility. It’s OK to ask a sibling, a spouse, a close relative or a friend to share your caregiving load for a while so that you can rest and recuperate.

5. Find the financial support you need

While looking for ways to help your aging parents, you may lose sight of the financial burden that it adds up to. Seek out the financial support you need, such as government and private benefits programs that cover some of the costs of supporting an elderly parent.

6. Don’t neglect self-care

Adult children caring for elderly parents often neglect their own health needs. But if your health fails, who will look after your loved ones? Prioritize self-care by eating better, hydrating, getting enough rest, and exercising. It will keep you energized to look after your seniors. 

Five Ways to Help Your Aging Parents at Home

Most seniors prefer to age in homes where they have spent their lives. However, when health issues take over, they may need help from you to continue living in a healthy and safe environment. Caring for elderly parents at home is typically the first step in a senior’s long-term care plan. Here are some essential tips on how to help your parents at home.

1. Keep a close eye on your parent’s well being

Taking care of elderly parents requires that you keep an eye on their well-being through frequent communication. Often regular calls can help you understand their daily routine and assess how they are doing through communication. But seniors who struggle often tend to hide their issues from their adult children. Moreover, if they are dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s, their safety is of prime importance. At such times, you may need to visit them or install security surveillance. These days, home monitoring systems are very sophisticated and allow you to monitor and communicate with your aging parents without seeming intrusive. You can also install smart assistive home devices for seniors that alert you in case of any emergency.

 

2. Find assistive devices

Elderly parents start experiencing age-related issues like restricted mobility, reduced cognition and physical changes. Timely help will assist them in maintaining mobility and aging safely. One of the first things that elderly parents might need help in is finding assistive devices like canes or walkers. Also, look for bed step stools that will make getting in and out of bed easier, especially at nights for bathroom visits.

Bathrooms can also be tricky as they cause slips and falls. A bathtub step and grab bars can make using the tub and toilet safer.


3. Keep your parents active and engaged


Studies show that older adults engaged in regular activities have better mental and physical health. Ensure your parents involve themselves in activities that will boost their confidence and help them socialize. Check with community centers for activities that seniors can enjoy, such as dancing, crafts or games. Performing simple and fun balance exercises also increases their chances of staying mentally alert, physically fit and independent.

On the other hand, hobbies also keep older adults enthusiastic and stimulate their brain activity. Calming workouts like chair yoga and nature walks refresh both the body and mind. Keeping engaged in activities will reduce loneliness and improve their mental health.

4. Make the home safe and accessible

Preventing falls in the elderly is one of the most important aspects to consider when elderly parents decide to age in place. Make a home safety checklist to remove potential hazards that cause falls. You may need to make structural changes, such as widening doorways for wheelchair access, adding ramps, or installing stairlifts. However, most other changes are minimal, like replacing door knobs with lever handles, ensuring well-lit interiors and keeping the place clutter-free. 

5. Schedule in-home consultations with local consultants to talk about aging in place

In-home consultations provide valuable information about long-term care planning, financial planning and caregiver tips. Check for resources that give information about Medicare, insurance and benefits to install aging-in-place essentials. Speak to your local government, Area Agency for Aging or consult with an elder law attorney for help in planning when you decide to take care of elderly parents. 

Final Thoughts 

Caring for aging parents is often regarded as a labor of love. Whether you are busy or have enough time and resources to devote, chances are you will still need to find ways to help your aging parents. In the process, remember to take care of yourself and gently ease into the task of caregiving for your elderly loved ones. Armed with the correct information, you can face the challenges with a better perspective.

Vince Baiera

 

Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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