words Alexa Wang
Caring for an elderly parent can be both rewarding and challenging. With some research and preparation, you will be more comfortable when taking on this responsibility.
You are not alone, and you should never feel guilty for asking for help. These are two vital things to remember when the going gets tough. Take a few deep breaths and remember why you are doing this.
Determine the Level of Care Required
Firstly, you need to assess how much care or help is needed on a daily basis. This will assist you in deciding what route to take when it comes to making sure your elderly parent is happy, healthy and comfortable. This becomes the first step in the long-term care plan. Remember, things change quickly so you also need to be flexible. Caring for your parent at home can save you money as well as ensure your parent feels comfortable and not abandoned. Be careful not to overlook your own health and take on too much responsibility.
Secondly, having the right equipment makes all the difference as this can ensure you provide dignity to your loved one in these trying times. Whether this includes incontinence pads, a motorized mobility scooter, a stairlift or adjustments to your shower and other areas of the home, these things need to be considered. There are many devices and options available so make sure you invest in the appropriate equipment and accessories. For example, you can use a GPS personal alarm to ensure someone’s notified if they fall when no one’s around.
Be Realistic and Take Care of Yourself
When deciding how much responsibility to take on, be realistic. You may need to call for additional help. This help can be in the form of close friends and family or even professional carers. Sometimes you may just need a hand with running simple errands or cooking a meal or two per week. Share the load. Also, consider ready-made meal services in your area. They offer healthy nutritious meals which means you do not need to spend time shopping and then cooking.
Also, take a break when you need it. You will need time to rest and recuperate as caring for an elderly parent is exhausting both physically and emotionally. Do not neglect your own self-care. If your health dwindles then who will be the caregiver? Make sure you eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and exercise at least three times a week if possible.
Obtain Financial Assistance
To prevent a financial burden in your household, investigate government and private benefits programs. Look into your parent’s pension, since there may be funds available for caring costs. Research the availability of reduced cost prescription medications. As a caregiver, you may be eligible for some tax relief if you claim your elderly parent as a dependent, or alternatively by claiming for increased medical expenses.
Caring for an older parent should not be a one-person job. Do not feel guilty calling on assistance from family and friends as well as experts and professionals who can provide resources and information.