Often, when we think about our future, we see a career, travel, relationships and motherhood. Providing care to our parents as they age isn’t usually at the forefront.
When the time comes to give serious thought to how to keep your parents safe and comfortable at home, it may feel quite sudden. Perhaps your mum or dad has been diagnosed with a health condition that’s making it more difficult for them to move around. Or, maybe they’ve had an accident or fall, which has made you reconsider their living arrangements.
Whatever the scenario, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed with emotions and the uncertainty of knowing what the best solution is. One option may be to move your parent into residential care. However, your parent may want to remain in their own space for as long as possible.
Whether they want to stay in their own home, move to somewhere more adaptable — such as a smaller home or bungalow — or move in with you, there are many ways to support your parent’s independent living if their health concerns and circumstances allow it.
Below we look at four caregiving tips on how to support your elderly parents living at home.
1. Fully Understand What Care is Needed
When deciding on whether or not it’s a good idea for your parents to stay at home, it’s important to look at the big picture. Is their health concern stable and will it stay consistent — or will it grow worse over time? In other words, will their needs remain the same, or will they continue to increase?
This information, along with communication from their doctor, can help you work out what daily, weekly and monthly care will be required to ensure your parents are well cared for. You will see their care situation from all angles, so you know what to prepare for.
2. Make the Home Safe
For your parent to live comfortably at home, they must have confidence in their ability to carry out everyday tasks and move around with ease. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure their home is as safe as possible by adding useful living aids to help maintain their independence.
From safety bars in the bathroom to helpful tools in the kitchen to avoid any nasty spills, living and mobility aids are a wonderful addition to make daily life that little bit simpler.
3. Get Help with Care Giving
Now you know which needs to meet and how often, it’s time to be realistic about how much you can help your parents without neglecting your own needs. In an ideal world, it’s a nice idea to visit your parents every day or to take on many of the caring tasks yourself. Logically, however, this isn’t always possible — and that’s okay.
There are plenty of options to get the support you need. You might use occasional volunteers who offer a friendly ear and a helping hand or a professional caregiver who pops in daily. There’s even the possibility of emergency respite care. You’re not alone, so make use of these services where you can.
4. Look at Financial Options
Another concern of helping to care for your parent at home can be the financial pressure. How much will all of this cost? The first step is to get in touch with your local council to ask for a social care needs assessment. No matter what your parent’s needs are, they’re entitled to this regardless of income and savings, so it’s free of charge.
After this assessment, the council will identify what kind of care and support would help — such as a paid carer or having daily meals delivered. If the evaluation identifies your parent does need help, a financial assessment or means test will be conducted to see if the council will pay towards these services.
Our biggest tip of all is to keep in mind the unknown can generate a lot of anxiety. If you have the research tools and resources to help your parents understand their challenges and how to work around them to live comfortably, you’ll bring a whole wealth of valuable health and wellbeing positives to their living situation.