Choosing to provide care for your elderly parents at home means that you will be able to save a considerable amount of money and keep your aging loved ones close. However, it also means that there are many important things to consider in order to provide the best care possible so you can combine comfort with the necessary medical care.
Since you are willing but rarely able to do everything yourself, this is a great time to learn as much as you can about giving home support services and providing better care to seniors.
Estimate how much care is needed
When it comes to caregiving, you need to focus on individual tasks as well as the big picture. The first step towards great organization is to determine how much care your older adult needs exactly.
Care tasks are best managed on paper. i.e., on a daily, weekly, and monthly list. This will give you a clear understanding of how much help is needed during the day, night, and at weekends, as well as the times of the day. In order to get the most comprehensive list possible, is to draft basic or most prominent obligations and then jot down others that spring up along the way. You can note the times as well.
You might have to update it as well since your elderly loved ones may wish to reschedule their usual activities.
Make your home safe
Changes to the home are not always renovation-oriented and don’t have to be pricey. For instance, if you have a pet, it is important that they are designated a secure area so there won’t be any danger of them tripping the adult. The same goes for their toys too. Also, you can add grab bars to your bathroom, provide a shower chair and a non-slip bath mat.
Some of the more expensive projects include adding ramps, stair lifts, additional lighting, widening doorways, or remodeling floors.
Find adequate financial support
The costs of caregiving you provide eventually add up, and you risk ending up with a financial burden you haven’t really counted on. One of the ways to avoid it is to plan ahead and ask for financial support before expenses become overwhelming.
There are government and private benefits programs that can cover certain costs and make things less strenuous on your budget. Also, if your parent receives a pension, you can talk to them about using some of that money to cover certain expenses. A prescription medication doesn’t cost as much, and you can perhaps qualify for aid programs for low-income seniors.
Share the responsibility
The first step towards not getting overwhelmed by caregiving is to forget about feeling guilty if you ask for help. Sharing responsibilities doesn’t mean you don’t care enough or that you’re lazy. Once you take on this responsibility, you’ll probably still have your job or family of your own to look after.
All the obligations and worry may at one point become too much, but nobody will offer to help you since you’ve never asked for any. People think you’re managing just fine, but you’re actually tired beyond belief. Ask your siblings or your spouse, or even your close friend if appropriate to look after your loved ones for a while so you can take a break. It doesn’t have to be much; sometimes, a day or a weekend off is quite enough to recharge. In other cases, siblings have been known to alternate and take care of their parents each for a year, for instance.
If this is not an option for you, you can always hire professional care so you can take a vacation or a business trip without constantly worrying about what is happening at home. These professionals are well-equipped with the knowledge to deal with everyday situations as well as emergencies and are skilled in advanced cardiac life support so they can provide immediate help until the paramedics arrive. Certificates such as these can be acquired 100% online by all, and if you would feel more at ease, you could do a life-saving course as well.
Take care of yourself
In order to provide the best possible care your loved ones deserve, you have to take care of yourself first. Be realistic and decide early on if you can manage everything yourself or you need help. Remember that exertion will not only make you weak but less concentrated as well, and you might make mistakes considering their medication or dosage.
If you allow yourself to burn out, you may develop a serious health condition, and then you won’t be able to help anyone. Provide care to your seniors but care for yourself as well. Ask for help, get lots of rest and take guilt-free breaks away from home.
Deciding to provide in-home care for the elderly is a noble thing to do and no mean feat. However, not everyone is up to it, and if you feel that you are - be smart and organize yourself the best you can, finances included. You’ll give your best only if you are well-rested and stress-free.