We’ll all be there one day; a day when our parents, the people who raised us and showed us so much love and affection, can no longer easily take care of themselves.
Taking care of the elderly is a unique and difficult challenge, especially for those who haven’t navigated the nuances of the topic before. If you’re in a situation like this now, never fear. You are not alone, and once equipped with the proper information, you will be more than able to give back everything they gave you and keep them safe, happy, and healthy.
Let’s discuss the options, so you can find the system that works best for you.
Taking Care of the Essentials
Whichever system you choose, at-home care or nursing facility, the first thing that needs to be taken care of is securing insurance for your older adult. Find a plan that corresponds with their specific needs, and ensure that they have adequate coverage for the things that may befall them as they age.
Also, take a moment and evaluate yourself and your needs. Taking care of the elderly is a complex and sometimes stressful job, and it helps to have an idea of the situation you are in yourself before accepting it. Do you have kids to take care of? What is your average workload at work? Do you have the space to host an extra person in your home?
Remember, this is to give you an idea of what you can handle. Once you adopt the role of caregiver, there are things you can do to take time for yourself to maintain a positive work-life balance. Evaluating how much you have to give, and taking the time once accepting the role to make sure you don’t get burnt out, are essential in ensuring your older adult has the proper care.
The How-To’s of At-Home Care
If you choose to take care of your older adult at home, there are a few things you may want to consider practicing to keep your older adult happy and healthy:
- Making healthy, nutritious meals is a must, especially if your older adult has conditions that may be affected by unhealthy foods. This may require a bit of cooking on your part, as it could be possible that your older adult will not be able to prepare their own meals.
- Eliminate any room for accidents. Keeping your house clutter-free will limit the risk of falls, and renovations may be recommended to increase their ability to access your home’s amenities. These renovations might include installing bars in the shower that they can hold onto to avoid slipping or a lift to help them get up and downstairs.
- If you have a lifestyle that will keep you out of the house, make time for your older adult throughout the day, as loneliness can have a negative effect on your older adult’s health. Also, consider equipping them with an alert device in case anything should happen while you’re away.
Taking care of older adults at home can be a massive responsibility and one that might not necessarily align with your lifestyle. If this turns out to be the case, you might want to consider an alternative type of care.
Navigating Alternatives: When You Have to Ask for Help
Firstly, there is no shame in seeking out any of these solutions. At-home care is not and cannot be for everyone, and the most important thing is making sure that your parent gets the best care they can receive. While often stigmatized, nursing homes might be the best alternative for older adults who need the kind of extensive care that’s difficult to provide at home. They are designed to take care of older adults around the clock, and older adults with mobility issues or who need assistance with bodily maintenance might find that a nursing facility meets their needs.
However, the idea of placing your parents in someone else’s hands can be scary. It’s always a good idea to do extensive research on nursing homes in your area, taking note of the facilities with amenities that will meet your older adult’s needs, and taking care to steer clear of those that may have a history of misconduct. You may also want to note resources that can provide justice for your older adult should any “misconduct” occur.
Choose the Path that Works Best for You
At-Home care or nursing facility: there is no wrong answer, only what works best for you and your older adult. After doing the research, evaluating your needs and the needs of your loved one, and consulting with your older adult (their opinion should always be taken into account), you will be empowered to make the decision that works for you.