Taking Care of an Elderly Parent: What to Do

grandson bonding his grandfather on a wheelchair

Parents are always there to lend a helping hand and support their children. They give you unconditional love and care when they bring you home from the hospital. They help you with your homework, encourage you, and even teach you lessons that will serve as a foundation for later success.

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on the increasing number of people taking care of elderly parents. The most recent data from 2018 shows that 8 million adults over 50 were providing unpaid personal care and health care to an adult relative living outside their households. This means that those adults had to skip work, reduce their hours or leave their jobs altogether to care for their elderly parents.

It is estimated that around 3 in 10 adults aged 45 or older provided personal or health care assistance for another adult over the past year before these numbers were collected. When asked why they chose to take up this responsibility, 84% said they wanted to ensure that the relative received adequate care, while 54% felt like it was something they had a moral obligation to do since it was ‘the right thing’ for them as family members. These figures show how dedicated parents are to ensuring their children have all the necessary support. This is especially true for elderly parents who can no longer care for themselves due to old age or deteriorating health conditions.

If you’re taking care of an elderly parent, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier. Here are a few tips to help you provide the best care possible.

Identify Specific Needs

Identifying the specific needs of your elderly parent is an essential part of providing them with quality care. Understanding their medical, psychological, and social needs can help them better plan for their healthcare and daily life.

It’s essential to comprehensively understand any existing medical conditions or underlying health issues that may require additional care. This includes evaluating their current medications, identifying potential side effects or contraindications with other treatments, and ensuring that any medicines prescribed by a doctor are correctly followed. In addition, it’s vital to assess the mental health of the elderly parent. This means checking for signs of depression, anxiety, dementia, or other mental health issues that may be present.

It’s also essential to take into account the social needs of an elderly parent as well. Are they still able to drive themselves somewhere? Is there someone who will be able to visit them regularly? Can they access things like grocery shopping or banking services on their own? Caregivers must understand how much independence the elderly parent has to provide them with adequate support and resources.

Distribute Elements Among Family Members

If you’re not the only one taking care of an elderly parent, it’s crucial to divide responsibilities among family members. This can help ensure everyone is doing their part to provide quality care. For example, you may better suit some family members for providing physical assistance, while others might have more experience managing medical issues or finances. Assigning each family member specific responsibilities helps ensure everyone feels involved and could lead to a more cohesive team effort.

However, children might not be the only ones involved in caregiving. Sometimes, elderly parents may rely on siblings, other family members, or close friends for assistance. If this is the case, ensure that these people are appropriately accounted for and given a role to ensure your parent receives the best level of care.

Create an Emergency Plan

Older adult receiving home healthcare

Caregivers should also create an emergency plan in case of any unforeseen circumstances. A reliable contact list is essential to quickly reach out to family members or medical personnel if something arises. Additionally, it’s necessary to keep all relevant documents—such as insurance information and living wills—in an easily accessible location so that anyone responsible for caring for the elderly parent can access them quickly.

Finally, consider home health care options for your loved one if you cannot provide full-time care. Numerous home care services can offer additional assistance in meal preparation, light housecleaning, doctor’s appointments, and more. In some cases, financial aid may be available to cover the cost of these services.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of an elderly parent is a challenging yet rewarding experience. It’s essential to ensure that your loved one receives the best care possible, and understanding their specific needs can help make the process easier. Additionally, involving other family members or close friends helps create a more cohesive team effort. Finally, having a reliable emergency plan in case something arises is essential for providing adequate protection and support. With these tips, you can be sure that your elder parent receives all the care they need during this time.

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