Despite our efforts to preserve that image of our parents as sprightly and nurturing individuals, aging is a reality that affects every family. While they themselves want to stay independent and healthy for as long as time allows, it often falls on adult children to take care of their elders and ensure they enjoy the best quality of life possible.
Now, some parents manage to live autonomously and without much help for years, but inevitably, there comes a time when close and long-term assistance may be required.
To that end, we’ve put together a practical guide outlining the essential tenets of caring for your aging parents at home and guaranteeing their welfare in their later years.
Start with an Open Discussion
It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and helpless when we begin to notice our parents maturing. Their faces change, their vitality plummets, and they may start to experience age-related health issues. As such, it’s important to approach the topic with great consideration and sensitivity.
Understand that they’ve been independent for most of their lives, which means they’ll probably resist your offer of support and care for fear of being a burden. Reassure them and let them know you’ll do your best to be there for them. In that conversation, you should be realistic and honest about how involved you can be.
Evaluate Their Needs
If they suffer from a chronic or incapacitating condition, some seniors will require more care and assistance than others. Age-related hearing loss is also a common problem that many seniors struggle with. Although it is not preventable or reversible, it can be easily treated with digital hearing aids. Every situation is unique. Depending on your parents’ physical and emotional abilities, determine what they’ll need help with on a daily basis.
A great step is to put together a list of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) to evaluate those needs precisely. Basic ADLs include feeding, dressing, bathing, and personal hygiene, along with personal mobility. Instrumental ADLs are required for safe, independent living and cover tasks such as housework, meal preparation, managing money, and using the phone or internet.
Don’t shy away from any duties, and if you do, remember that they were the ones changing your diapers as a baby!
Seek Help with Caregiving
Now, unless you have the ability to split yourself in two, it goes without saying that attending to all these daily obligations by yourself is virtually untenable.
As much as you want to be a source of permanent comfort and care, you’ve got your own responsibilities to look after, work life, family matters, and so on. Therefore, getting help with routine caregiving should provide you with some much-needed relief and peace of mind.
In fact, the live-in elderly care sector is thriving nationwide; if your parents reside in New Jersey, you’re bound to find the website of a reputable senior home care service to assist with personal caregiving, health aid, homemaking duties, everyday companionship, and much more.
Throughout your research, be sure to look for a tailored, trustworthy, and accredited service provider as a proof of quality and experience.
Share in the Responsibility
If you insist on caring for your elders yourself, it may be a good idea to encourage your siblings and close family members (cousins, nieces, nephews, family-in-law) to step in and help you once in a while. Of course, everybody has their duties, but an aging senior can work to rally family support.
Depending on how close you all are, you may take turns caring for the elders according to schedules and availability. This will allow you to enjoy a much-deserved break from time to time.
Offer Financial Management Support
The costs related to aging can be downright staggering, depending on the elder’s need. Between medical expenses, prescription drugs, monthly spending budgets, possible home care assistance costs, and more, it can all be difficult to manage.
As such, offer to manage your parents’ financial situation to ensure that they’re secure for their senior years. Note that they may receive additional income from certain governmental support programs, so be sure to take advantage of that if they’re eligible.
Take Care of Funeral Arrangements
This is certainly a sensitive and saddening prospect, but attending to all funeral matters will allow your elders to live out their golden years with some peace of mind. Schedule an appointment with a funeral services company that will guide you through the process expertly.
Given all the sacrifices they’ve made and everything they’ve endured to raise us, it’s only natural that we should take care of our parents and contribute to making their final years as comfortable and memorable as we can. Being on call, helping with caregiving, and offering companionship is just some of the things you can do to help them as much as they’ve helped you all those years.
Finally, don’t hesitate to seek out the help you need to care for your parents at home.