Aging Parent

The Complete Guide to Caring for an Aging Parent

The average family caregiver spends 20 hours a week caring for their loved ones. It’s easy to see how caring for an aging parent can be quite a challenge when you’re trying to balance it with the rest of your life.

When it comes to how to take care of your parents, there are several things that can help you balance your role as a caregiver with living your own life.

Let’s take a closer look at things you should know when thinking about helping aging parents.

Work Out How Much Care Is Needed

One of the most important things you’ll need to do is to sit down and work out exactly how much care is needed. Taking on full responsibility for an aging parent without knowing what that entails is a recipe for becoming overwhelmed.

The easiest way to do this is to start taking notes on what your elderly parent requires from you over a week or month. You’ll be able to create a list of all the tasks your parent needs assistance with.

This will give you a good outline of the scope of the care that is needed and will allow you to weigh it up against how much you can realistically provide.

Be Realistic About What You Can Do

You need to be honest with both yourself and your parent about how much you can do. Your wellbeing needs to be as much of a priority as your parents.

If you take on too much you put yourself at risk of burning out and that will leave you unable to care for anyone. Work out how much time you can spare without it having too much of a negative impact on the rest of your life.

Be sure to talk about this with your parent so they understand if there are some things you can’t do.

Get Help and Share the Load

Yes, they are your parents, and now is the time to return the unconditional love they showed you as a child, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself.

One of the first things you can do is to reach out to other family members. This has the added benefit of keeping familiar faces around. Small tasks such as housework and outings are great tasks for other family members.

Sourcing other caring services might seem like a time-consuming task at first, but it’s something that will pay-off in the long-run.

Hiring a caregiver will free up your time to concentrate on the more important tasks such as managing finances. Home care providers such as this home care service can make it much easier to help keep your elderly parent living comfortably at home.

Take Advantage of Community Resources

Most communities have several resources that can help when it comes to caring for an elderly parent. The great thing is that most of them are government-funded so you can take advantage of them with little to no extra cost.

Some common community resources include:

  • Volunteer hired companions
  • Shopping and transportation services
  • Personal care services
  • Meal delivery services

Be sure to check the local resources in your area and take advantage of anything that might help ease your workload.

Be Patient and Understanding

Caring for an elderly parent can take its mental toll, but it’s important to remember to patient and understanding. Losing independence is a hard blow to take and it isn’t always easy adjusting to the necessary changes that come with it.

When discussing care options with your parent it’s important to listen closely to their concerns. Remember that the decisions you make should be made with their best interests in mind.

Even small things like trips out might not seem too important, and something you could skip to save yourself some time. But it could mean a lot to your parent.

Take time to discuss what is important to your parent and even if you don’t agree at first, be patient and understanding and try and see things from their side.

Don’t Forget Yourself

Caring for an elderly parent can soon become an overwhelming task. It’s very easy to soon find yourself taking too much on facing burn out.

This is why it’s important to keep track of your needs and how you’re feeling. Make sure you’re not giving up too much of your time, and that you still make room for things that are important to you.

You might feel bad for neglecting your parent for a moment, but it’s important to keep yourself together. Taking time out for yourself will help keep you in the best frame of mind for caring for your parent.

Help Build and Maintain Social Networks

One of the biggest problems facing the elderly is loneliness. It’s very easy for your elderly parent to become increasingly socially withdrawn over time. Sometimes the only times they might see people during the day is when care is being provided.

Loneliness can quickly develop into depression and this can even increase the chances and development of dementia. The importance of helping your elderly parent stay socially active is paramount.

As well as organizing frequent visits from family members, it’s important to keep your parent in contact with their peers. Seeking out social activities and groups that your parent can attend is of utmost importance.

Your local community will surely have several groups and activities specifically tailored for the elderly. Also, be sure to help them keep in contact with friends.

Caring for an Aging Parent

Caring for an aging parent can be as challenging as rewarding. It’s important to plan ahead and take the time you need to take care of yourself too. By following the advice in this article, you can help be sure you’re doing your best to provide your parent with the care they deserve.

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