Caring for aging parents is a life stage that most people face. About 40 million adults in the United States care for their elderly parents when they can no longer care for themselves.
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a tough one, and people don’t take it lightly. However, some people opt out of putting their aging parents in a nursing home and instead, resort to caring for them at home. Amid a busy lifestyle and the demands that often come with caring for aging parents, it’s hard to balance work and caregiving. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and impossible. But it’s not!
If you’re a caregiver to aging parents, keep reading for tips and insight to make the process easier.
Why Keep Your Elderly Parents at Home
There are several reasons why people choose to keep their aging parents at home. Nursing homes may be a financial strain on families. On average, nursing homes cost between $7,000-8,000 per month.
Although nursing homes should provide a safe and secure for your loved one, there are plenty of opportunities for abuse and neglect. A shift to a nursing home might be a shock to your parents. Keeping them in a familiar environment is comforting.
These are a few reasons to consider allowing your parents to stay in their homes or stay with you. Providing care for your parents may not come as easily as you may think. Many angles need to be considered if you have a busy and active lifestyle. Here are a few tips you need to think about.
1. What Are Their Needs?
The first thing you’ll need to evaluate is the needs of your parent. Will they need round-the-clock care? Do they have medications they need to take? Doctor’s appointments to keep?
The best thing to do is make a list of all of the necessities that are involved in their care and go from there. A tangible list will help you see and understand what steps you need to take to ensure their care and safety.
2. Don’t Do It Alone
If the responsibility seems too great, there’s nothing wrong with calling in for help. Other family members like siblings or other extended family members could help in relieving some of the burdens of sharing the responsibility.
Don’t feel guilty about calling in extra resources, so see here for more information on hiring extra help with senior care. Shouldering all the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one is too much for anyone to handle, especially if they have extensive needs. Let your family know your plan and see if anyone can link arms with you.
3. Make a Schedule or Routine
Having a schedule or a routine keeps everything running smoothly, especially if you have a full-time job, a family, or other obligations. Go through what an average day is like and plan your shopping, working, and outings. Sit down with your parent or parents and see what they expect out of a day or what activities they’d like to include.
4. Care for Yourself
Especially if you have a family and a job, caring for another person can weigh on you quickly. It’s very important to take care of your self and take some time to do things you love or spend time with other family members.
Don’t wait until you become so burnt out that you resent your aging parents or you’re unable to care for them. Some people will push themselves too hard, and it only causes more problems.
You don’t have to give up your hobbies, activities, or family time, but plan accordingly and ahead of time to cover care for your parent if needed.
5. Include Extra Financial Costs
Having another person in your home is likely to provide a greater financial responsibility. You might need to up your budget for food and other living expenses. There are government programs available designed to help families, as well as possibly getting paid for being a caregiver.
You might not know the exact numbers right away, so watch your budget for a couple of months to see how expenses add up and start adding them to your budget.
6. Take Advantage of Resources
If your parent is itching to get out of the house and meet friends or do some activities, let them if they’re able. Maintaining a social and active life is healthy for aging parents
Help them find senior-friendly activities they enjoy or continue to take them to religious services, classes, or more. As long as your parent is feeling well and healthy, it’s great for them to continue any activities they wish. Arrange appropriate transportation services if necessary.
7. Safety Proof Your Home
Like parents who bring home a newborn, there needs to be precautions when your elderly parents come to live with you. Though you might not need to plug electrical sockets, the biggest danger to seniors is falling or slipping, so there may not be a huge shift in your home layout.
Consider anything that might cause injury and continue to make adjustments as needed. If you have an in-home care agency in your area, reach out to them to see if they have any suggestions or recommendations.
Caring for Parents at Home
Caring for aging parents is no easy task and will ask much from you emotionally and physically. While you never know exactly what to expect when your parent moves in, implementing these tips can give you a head start.