Most people would agree, it’s no easy task to take care of elderly parents. It’s even more daunting when that care falls squarely on your shoulders and you have to do it all in your home. It is a task that tends to get even more difficult as parents age and become less independent. Understand that formerly when you were small, it was your parents who took care of you and it wasn’t any easier. Now, the roles are simply reversed and so as not to get frustrated with the task, we thought it might be considerate to share these 5 Tips for Caring for Your Elderly Parents at Home.
1. Make Your Home More Elder-Friendly
It may be wise to make changes around your home to accommodate having an elder one around. Changes such as decluttering the walkways to allow for ease of movement, having grab bars around the house and in the toilet to assist with movement, having non-skid mats in the most slippery places, using anti-scald devices with your showers and faucets, and clearing out rooms on lower floors so that your elders and parents don’t have to always clamber up the stairs can help make your home environment friendlier and safer for your parents. This will leave you with less to worry about and allow you to focus on other things.
2. Know Your Limits
How much care is needed? How much can you bear to provide? Answering these two questions will help you identify your own limits and determine if you can do it on your own, need to get extra help, or consider adult day care centers or homes for the elderly. It will also prevent you from overworking yourself and developing your own health crisis. When this is freely discussed with your parents, it can also help to prevent undue expectations. Identify your limits and stay within them.
3. Monitor Activities
Everyone knows how important physical activities are for the maintenance of the physical and mental health of seniors. However, chances are that you will not always be at home to monitor the carrying out of those activities. Using an activity calendar can help you schedule and keep track of activities so that even when your parent is alone, they know what they need to do. It can also help them stay productive and healthy as you can schedule activities that will help address every identified area of need.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Chances are that love for your parents and a desire to see them well cared for will make you forget to take care of yourself. However, what you should not forget is that any harm to you, especially if you are the only caregiver, will backfire on their own care too. As such, you need to take care of yourself. See to it that you’re eating well, resting adequately, drinking enough water, and exercising. Reading spiritual or uplifting literature also comes highly recommended as you will gain a more enriched perspective of looking after the elderly. (Not to mention the benefits to your next life, but hey, that’s a subject for a later post!) But if you ever feel overwhelmed, make sure to ask someone for help.
5. Keep Track of the Financial Implications
The cost of taking care of your parents can quickly add up and become burdensome. Keeping proper records of what taking care of your older parents entails can qualify you to receive some help. For example, they may be eligible to receive some financial benefits from the government because of their changing condition. You might also be eligible to get personal tax relief. Ensure you take advantage of any such opportunity to cover the cost or add to what you are spending.