Our parents provide care, support, and love for us when we are little, so it is only natural that we are there for them when they need us in their later years. We want them to receive the best possible care, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For some, this will mean ensuring their parent moves into the best residential care home, while for others, it will mean bringing them into the family home. If you are considering caring for an elderly parent at home, it is crucial to take into account all the potential pros and cons. This guide outlines some key considerations for people wishing to care for an elderly parent at home.
Be realistic about how much care they need
You need to find out exactly how much care your parent will need on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This includes considering the care they might need during the day and at night. Write a list of all the tasks you will need to support them with or perform for them, including medication, taking them to medical appointments, dietary needs, bathing, etc. You may not realize how much is involved until you list it all in one place. If your parent already has a caregiver, talk to them about their role.
Decide whether you will be able to cope
When you have a clear picture of what will be required of you, you need to work out if you will realistically be able to meet their needs. You may feel that you will not be able to look after them without support from others, and if this is the case, you should investigate possible support options. If you take on too much, you will place yourself under stress and run the risk of exhaustion. It will negatively impact both your physical and mental health and mean you will be unable to look after them. It is a good idea to speak to siblings or other family members who might be able to take some of the work off your shoulders and enable you to take breaks when you need to.
Consider adapting your home
You may need to make significant changes to your home in terms of the layout of furniture, stairlifts, handrails, or possibly even structural adaptations. For example, to ensure they have easy access to the property, you could invest in an automatic sliding door from Evo Products and installing a stairlift if you have an upper floor. Doing so will give your parent more independence and prevent injury.
Find out what support is available for caregivers
There is often a lot of support available in the community for people taking on the role of a caregiver. This can include financial aid, such as wages, benefits, or cheaper prescriptions. There might be day programs which will give your parent the opportunity to be social, to keep a hobby, and provide you with some rest. Meal delivery services or online shopping deliveries could remove a couple of tasks from your to-do list.