As we get older, it becomes more and more difficult to perform various activities. Therefore, our ageing parents, often need help with daily tasks such as preparing meals, taking medication and making healthcare decisions. Unfortunately, the elderly very often do not ask for help, and we miss the point when help is needed. It is difficult to know not only when to help your ageing parents, but also how to do it.
How to take over responsibility without making parents feel as if they have lost their independence altogether? How to approach elderly parent care? And how to provide support for elderly relatives without coming into conflict with them? Here are the steps you should take.
How do you recognise when a loved one needs help?
Before we move on to how to start providing elderly parent care, it’s worth talking about how to recognise when your loved one needs help. Here are two basic factors that determine the need for help:
- Hygiene and housekeeping – neglecting basic tasks such as personal hygiene, nutrition and housekeeping is the first sign to think about ways to provide support for an elderly parent. If you see that your parent has a dirty home, does not look clean or has an empty fridge, this is the first sign that it is time to think about home help for the elderly or start helping.
- Health status – this is another qualifying factor for providing care for elderly parents. If your loved one has mobility problems, sight problems, arthritis or is starting to have memory problems and signs of dementia, they could benefit from help, whether from you or a professional live-in carer.
Five steps in the elderly parent care process
Below you will find the most important steps you should take if you want to provide support for elderly parents or relatives.
Step one: assess the situation
Caring for an elderly parent can be overwhelming if you don’t know two things — what your parent’s real situation is and what your options are when it comes to providing elderly parent care. Therefore, the first step is to identify the parent’s needs in key areas — the ability to support the family, medical needs, cognitive abilities, mobility, personal hygiene, cooking and social interaction.
Step two: assess your capabilities
Once you have identified the issues in which your loved one may need support, you need to determine your capabilities. To do this, consider whether you can help on your own, whether you will allow yourself home help for the elderly, or whether your loved one will need to move to a retirement home.
The best option, by far, is to hire a live-in care professional, as they will help you provide the best support for elderly parent while not subjecting them to the shock of moving and changing surroundings.
Step three: talk to a loved one about elderly parent care
Nobody wants to lose control of their life. That’s why it’s important to involve your parent or loved one as much as possible when planning their care – ask what help they expect, what concessions they are prepared to make and what is important to them. It will ensure that they see you as someone whose best interests are genuinely at heart, rather than someone stepping in to make changes to their life as they see fit.
You need to be aware that your parent is likely to be dismissive of the subject at first, so be prepared to have lots of conversations and try to prepare for them by coming up with arguments and staying calm.
Step four: make sure your parents’ home is safe
Older people are more vulnerable to the fatal effects of falls, so it is worth ensuring that the home is properly secured in case of such accidents. In addition, older people often become victims of muggings, so it is worth thinking about a proper security system, and cameras and teaching your senior to use the phone to ask for help quickly.
To do this:
- Make sure all floors and walkways are clear of clutter, cables and carpets.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom and handrails on stairs throughout the building.
- Ensure all rooms are bright and switches are easily accessible.
- Install an alarm system.
- Teach a senior to use a mobile phone.
Step five: find the right elderly parent care professional
Let’s face it. Working full-time is unlikely to give your parents the support they need. Therefore, you are left with two options – sending your senior to a nursing home, which is expensive and will come as a big shock to them, or providing home help for the elderly. The latter is definitely the best option because you are providing the best one-on-one support services, the senior does not have to change surroundings and it is not as expensive as renting a home to help the elderly.
Therefore, the fifth step talks about finding a professional. And to do this, it is best to find a proven agency that provides you with the best person for the job, such as Veritas Care.
Elderly parent care – summary
Helping an ageing parent is no easy task from an emotional, financial and practical point of view. We hope we have helped you at least a little to face this challenge. And if you need someone to support you even further then we are here for you.
Contact Veritas Care and we will guide you through the process of organising support for your loved ones and finding the best person to help them.