Caring for Your Aging Parents
As we are living longer this is a fact of life. We will have the opportunity to care for aging parents. So many of us are already living this in far greater numbers than in previous generations.
So what does caring for your aging parents look like for you? What are the options?
Caring for your aging parents is a gift we get to give to our parents. And it does comes with some concerns. And the first question is always what is best for all of us? Which is not always an easy answer, is it?
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Looking after aging parents can be challenging. They may have been a source of support your whole life. Having to then support them can be difficult to handle both emotionally, physically and financially, whether it’s a case of physical or mental deterioration.
There are really three options when it comes to caring for your aging parents – you can care for them, hire an at-home carer or pay for them to be looked after in a care home.
Here is an in depth look at the three options for caring for your aging parents, their pros and cons and the best ways of approaching them.
Care for them Yourself
Providing your own care for your aging parents is often the most affordable option. It may also be ideal if you have a close relationship with your parents, as you may have a better idea of their comforts it needs.
However, it can require the most sacrifices of any care option. Depending on how much care they need, you may need to move in with them or they may need to move in with you.
This could involve making improvements to your home such as stair lifts and grab bars to cater for their lack of mobility.
Or security/health and safety improvements if it’s a mentally deteriorative disease.
You may also have to work less hours and give up certain personal freedoms to provide the constant care that is needed.
If you have a partner and children, they will also need to agree to this role if you’re planning on living with your parent.
These are huge decisions that sometimes we just do not always take into full consideration. And I get that. We have this option to care for our aging parents. And we need to look at how viable that works for them also.
There is not a question of wanting to do it. Rather how to care for your aging parents in ways that work for all. Healthy and as comfortable as possible.
Options for Caring for Your Aging Parents
There are lots of benefits and grants available for carers both from the government, local councils and charities.
You may also be eligible to discounts on everything from vehicle tax to attraction entry tickets to public transport. Sites like Carers Trust offers more information on these grants and discounts.
Many care takers will occasionally take some of the burden off by hiring at at-home care takers, or using a care home for a short period.
This could allow you to work, attend to other responsibilities or take holidays and days away as a form of respite.
Looking after yourself is important when in a care giver role – take on too much and it could affect your mental and physical health.
When I was faced with having to bear witness to watching my parents age. I was blessed to have them around for so long. We had many conversations on what they both wanted.
And this was an integral learning curve for me. I had to come to grips of allowing my own concerns to not overtake their ability to make their own decisions.
My father’s quickly declining health was decided for us because of his becoming so mentally unstable. Heart break to watch as Alzheimer’s set in..
But I was the one who had to make the calls and ultimately the decision to place him in a facility. It ended up being quite lovely. And he was happy there.
Yet in all honesty, it was hard on all of us to bear witness. And thankfully it did not last for years. But knowing what was right for him without him being in his own peace of mind, felt like I was taking something away from him.
The point being that we need to know when caring for our aging parents is something we can truly handle or knowing when we need expert help.
Hire Caring Staff for your Aging Parents
Another option is to hire caring staff to look after your parents. This could be on a part-time or full-time basis . And could allow your parent to stay in their own home in an environment that’s familiar to them.
This option is costlier but offers you more freedom.
There are many levels of at-home care. If your parents have mobility issues, but are still fairly independent otherwise, it could be a case of finding someone to help with simple tasks. Such as shopping, doing household chores or preparing meals.
Others may need help in the morning and evening when it comes to getting dressed/undressed and washed. There are many care services out there such as CareBuilder’s at Home that can provide this care for your aging parents.
For medical care or unique conditions, you may need to hire more specialist care.
CHOOSING A CARE GIVER for Your Aging Parents
Choosing a care giver involves trust, so it’s worth doing your research. If you’re hiring a private carer, you may want to conduct interviews with multiple people to find a care giver that you and your parent gel with.
You may also be able to get recommendations of other people as to which service to use as well as reading online reviews.
Some people may use caring staff for most of the week whilst providing some temporary personal care themselves for their parents.
You should find the right balance to fit your budget and schedule.
Consider a Care Home/Nursing Home for Caring for your Aging Parents
The third option is to pay money for your aging parents to be looked after in a care home. These homes provide round the clock care by experienced staff.
They may be more appropriate than in-home care, if your parent can no longer live in their home due to physical/financial restrictions.
The drawback is that they can be very expensive, sometimes as much or more than at-home care.
It could also mean taking your parent out of the environment they’re used to. And putting your trust in complete strangers.
For this reason, many people use them as a last resort, however if you the available funds and are able to find a care home you like and trust it could be an option to pursue straight away.
Finding a Care home or Nursing home to Care for your Aging Parent
There are lots of care homes across the country, all of which differ when it comes to cost and quality of care. Some care homes focus on the physically disabled. Some cater purely to mental deteriorative diseases, like dementia and others are mixed.
It’s worth visiting multiple care homes in person to find one that you think your parent would be happiest in. For some people, location can be a big factor. A care home that is nearby could be easier to visit.
Sites like Care Home offer a guide to the various homes across the country so that you have a better idea of your available options.
You can trial a care home for a week to see if the quality of care is up to standard. A care home could also be a good temporary option for when you can’t arrange at-home care. Or need to take a person break from caring for your parent yourself.
Caring for your aging parents is a dilemma that is both heart break and joy. We get to be of service to those that gave us life, at a time when their life might not be so easy.
Knowing when and how to care take is truly important for everyone’s well being and safety. Deciding, in home care, at our home, or facility care is a vital decision. And at any time it might have to be changed to another option.
Caring for your aging parents is a lesson to come to terms with, in honoring who they are. And how we can be at our most compassionate and caring selves.
In peace and gratitude,
Founder, CEO, success-full-living.com
living one heart-centric moment at a time