Caring for an elderly parent or grandparent daily is a demanding and very time-consuming job. It requires a load of knowledge, gentleness and sensitivity. Empathy, patience and care are also essential. What is elderly parent care? What does it consist of? What are the ways of helping elderly parents? What do you need to know to start caring for a family member? You will find out all this today, so keep reading.
The challenges of caring for elderly parents
Although helping elderly parents can be a truly rewarding experience, carers often face common challenges that leave them overwhelmed or intimidated by their commitments. Here are some of the challenges of caring for an elderly parent:
Any carer for an elderly parent will tell you that it is not always a pleasant job. Caring for people with chronic illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease tends to cause the most emotional stress, especially for immediate family members. It’s also hard for us to look at our ageing loved ones and for them to accept our help, so it can create a lot of conflicts.
Shortage of time
Caring for an elderly parent is a very time-consuming activity. Helping offsprings often find that they have less time for themselves and other family members. They often spend too much time on caring responsibilities and end up sacrificing things they enjoy. This is not a good way to go, because while exhausted, you lack the resources to help elderly parents one hundred per cent.
Lack of privacy
As a carer for elderly parents, you will either commute to your loved one’s home all the time or invite them to live with you. In the latter case, it is common to feel a lack of privacy in your home. You may find it difficult to set boundaries and to get away from constant interaction.
It seems that by not hiring professional care for an elderly person, you can save money. However, this is not entirely true. If you want to provide quality elderly parent care, you will face a certain financial strain. Caring for an elderly parent is time-consuming, so you will probably have to postpone some of your professional duties until other times or spend your free time on them.
Key tasks when caring for an elderly parent
Here are the key tasks you will need to undertake when caring for a family member.
Providing companionship is one of the most essential but often overlooked parts of caring for a family member. Feelings of loneliness in older people can lead to depression, apathy and eating disorders. Therefore, when you are helping an ageing loved one remember to carve out time for honest conversation. This will make your loved one feel like a part of your life rather than a burden.
As you get older, even chores such as cleaning and cooking can become difficult. Older people may need help washing floors and windows, vacuuming or taking out the rubbish. Therefore, when wanting to provide quality elderly parent care, don’t forget these tasks. You can take care of these yourself if you have the time and inclination, or ask for help from professionals.
Medication and medical appointments
Older people suffer from many conditions and chronic diseases. Therefore, it will be your responsibility as a caregiver to remind them to take their medications, drive them to and book doctor’s appointments and buy new prescriptions. This is a very important part of day-to-day care that will affect your loved one’s health and life.
Older people have less and less strength to carry out daily chores such as cooking. At the same time, an appropriate menu is of considerable importance for their health and life. Therefore, if you are caring for an elderly family member, you need to think about how to provide them with food. You can cook for them yourself, or you can ask a catering company for help.
As people get older, daily movement becomes more difficult. Older people often have chronic illnesses, take strong medication and have problems with their eyesight. All these issues make driving a car dangerous for them. Travelling by public transport, on the other hand, is very long and tiring. Therefore, when taking on the task of caring for an elderly parent, it is worthwhile for you to help with transport and to give them a lift to certain places.
Your ageing parent may also require help with using the toilet and shower. Assistance with washing, combing and brushing teeth, may be necessary. It’s not the most pleasant task for either party, so it’s worth equipping yourself with patience. You can also purchase special senior aids and equip your senior’s bathroom accordingly to make it easier for them to use. Read our blog post about Personal Hygiene Care for the Elderly here.
Caring for an elderly parent alternative
Caring for an elderly parent is a difficult thing to do, both physically and mentally. Such a task requires great knowledge, strength and time. Therefore, if you are worried that you will not be able to cope with such duties, you had better think about hiring a professional live-in elderly carer. This way, you will be sure of the best possible care, while keeping the parent-child relationship in order.