How to Take Care of Your Elderly Parents
Posted on: 22 July 2019 by Subhajit Khara
Finding the best way of caring for your parents requires a fair amount of work. You need to factor in their wishes, the type of assisted living or independent living that you can provide.
A challenge most adults have to face at some point is taking care of their parents. As they get older, people tend to need more assistance due to problems with their physical health, mental health, and cognitive abilities. Many adults are able to live independently and need only the attention and love of their children. Unfortunately, many others need more forms of support. Let's discuss a few alternatives, such as independent or family care.
Independent living at home
For a lot of older adults, aging at home is the preferred option. They choose to stay where they have lived and be surrounded by familiar things, people, and places. Living at home is a good option for older adults who are generally able to take care of themselves. It works best for people who don't require assisted living conditions for doing everyday tasks and who have no signs of cognitive decline. Many older adults remain independent and stay in good enough health to get by on their own with some help from their children.
You may consider how well are your parents when choosing this option. If they are independent and able to cope with ADLs – activities of daily living, like shopping, brushing their teeth, bathing, dressing, going outside, and so on, then staying at home can be the best option. You should strive to interact with your parents and be a part of their lives, offering the support they need.
The second option is assistance at home. This can mean that a social worker or a nurse or a family member comes in frequently to help the older adult handle their activities of daily living. A part-time or full-time caregiver can make life easier for your parent and allow them to maintain their independence. This option tends to involve fewer costs than assisted living facilities and may be good for people who might have some health issues but are sharp in terms of cognitive ability. In-home care or support can be provided by family members who move in with the senior or who invite them into their own home, although family members tend to be less prepared for handling problems like dementia or serious health issues.
Independent living community
This is another good option for mostly active and independent seniors. An independent living community is a space where older adults live together in environments that are better adjusted for their needs and that is shared with other seniors. Usually, these communities have facilities and support but they are not geared towards adults with serious health problems or in need of on-going medical support.
Assisted living community
These communities are similar to independent living options but offer a greater degree of support for individuals who need help with their activities of daily living. This is a good option for adults with health problems and those who need help with meals, dressing, medication, and others. Assisted living communities are usually not designed for adults with severe impairments or health issues.
Nursing homes provide around-the-clock care for adults with on-going health problems and cognitive impairments. They offer medical services and help with all or most activities of daily living. There are nurses and doctors who can help the person. Nursing homes are not meant for issues that require hospital care but they do help with problems like dementia.
When choosing how best to care for your elderly parents, you may consider different factors. The first one should always be what your parents want and would prefer. Many express a preference for assisted living or independent home life, and it's important to respect your parents' wishes as much as you are able. The first thing to consider should always be what your parents would prefer.
However, it is also true that sometimes you need to take other things into account. Some older adults with cognitive impairments may not be able to adequately judge their ability to live independently and may struggle with ADLs without admitting it. It's important to obtain professional opinions about the capacity of your parent to live indepenently and to best gauge the right option for them. While many seniors would hope to remain independent, that is not always possible, though their autonomy should be respected.
The third consideration is practical. Some options are more expensive than others, and, for example, assisted living may not be covered by insurance but nursing homes might. The options that are available can depend on your parents' planning and provisions and the overall financial state of the family. It's important to provide the best care for your parents but you may need to factor in the potential expenses and affordability of the different choices.
It's important to also find good options. Not every caretaker is qualified, and not every assisted living facility is suitable for your parents. It’s worth taking your time to investigate and ensure that the facility is effective, has a good environment, and provides the type of care your parents need. Consider also the options that exist in your area to support senior citizens. There may be insurance options, activities, financial assistance, and other things that will make your life easier.
Regardless of the option that you choose, an important part of caring for your parents is staying close to them. They will value your effort but they also will need to feel your presence in their lives. It's true that not all parents are made equal, and some families might be estranged. In that case, it's up to you to decide how much contact you want to have with your parents and what type of interactions you would prefer. You have a degree of responsibility for taking care of your parents, but you have always the option to decide what type of care or help you will provide and how emotionally involved you will be.
Finding the best way of caring for your parents requires a fair amount of work. You need to factor in their wishes, the type of assisted living or independent living that you can provide and that works best for their conditions, and also find ways to stay involved in their care and everyday life. However, there are many options that allow you to find the best solution.