If you have aging parents, there may come a time when you will need to help them make decisions regarding their care and their living arrangements. Statistics show that the majority of seniors prefer to remain in their home as they get older, even if they require assistance to do so. Helping them remain in their home or moving them into your home requires some adaptations on everyone’s part. Here are a few ways you can help your parents stay at home.
In general, most houses are not ideally designed to accommodate the needs of seniors. Therefore, you will need to take steps to make the home they will be living in safe and accessible. Some structural adaptations such as the addition of a ramp, the installation of a raised toilet seat, and grab bars may be necessary. Simple changes to make a home more accessible for seniors include increasing lighting and removing throw rugs. If necessary, you may want to open up interior spaces large enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair.
Safety is an important concern for your parents, especially falls. Falls account for the majority of in-home accidents involving seniors. As a caregiver, you may want to consider the benefits of getting a medical alert device for your aging parent. A device such as this can give you and your parent peace of mind. This way, you know that if an accident occurs, they can get immediately get the help they need. This is especially important if your aging parent won’t be living in the same home as you or is in general living alone. Falling and being unable to get help is a terrifying experience, so make sure that you have a plan in place for such an emergency.
When you make the initial adjustments necessary for your family member to remain in their home or move into your home, they may still be relatively independent. However, as time goes by, they may require more assistance. For a while, you may be able to rely on other family members or friends to provide assistance. However, it may eventually become necessary for you to get a local home care agency involved. Levels of home care span a large range. These include services such as non-medical assistance. For example, they’ll need someone to help with household chores, cooking, and transportation to 24 hour nursing care. Centers are also available for those who need full-time care in a facility during a brief recovery period.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care and respite programs can also be helpful to you and your aging parent. This is especially true if they live in your house and you are their primary caregiver. Taking your parent to special care services during the day while you are at work or otherwise occupied can greatly relieve your workload. It can also be essential in preventing caregiver burnout. Many who care for aging parents feel like they have to do the work on their own. However, getting professional help as needed can actually improve the quality of care your parent receives.
Helping your parent retain as much independence as possible as they get older may be challenging. It’s important that you don’t travel the road alone. Don’t hesitate to become active in a support group where everyone there is experiencing similar issues and can offer each other ideas and support. There are also agencies and social workers that can help you with financial concerns and caregiving issues. Know that, just like caring for children, feelings of frustration or exhaustion that may arise do not indicate you love your parent any less. By taking the proper steps, precautions, and getting the right help to ensure their quality of life, you show how much you love your parents with every day.