Watching your parents age is quite possibly one of the hardest things in the world to deal with. You’ll start to notice all of the sudden one day that the people who have cared for you your entire life will now need you to care for them. It can be very challenging emotionally for many people, as well as physically and even financially challenging. If you are facing caring for your elderly parents or an elderly parent, you are certainly not alone. So, how do you care for your elderly parent?
When such care is coming up on the horizon, it’s very important that everyone involved sits down and discusses who will be caring for your elderly parent, how the parent feels about it, and every other aspect related to the issue. This way, there are no surprises and everyone will know what their role is in the coming months and years. This is especially important if you have multiple siblings, as well as if your parents are not interested in being cared for, and you’ll need to give them a heads up before you plan to step in.
What Types of Care do Many Senior Parents Need?
Most adults will need not only physical care but also emotional and mental care as they live out the final years of their lives. If you are caring for your elderly parent, these are the areas that you will be helping out in.
Daily Living Activities
Sit back and think about your day. You probably do a million mundane tasks and activities that are related to your everyday life. They are the things that you always do, from taking a shower to brushing your teeth to walking to work, and while they may seem like easy and boring tasks, to an elderly parent they can be extremely challenging. Daily activities can not only are important for the physical health of a person, but they are also vital for emotional and mental well-being. If you are caring for an elderly relative who is ill or injured, these tasks might prove to be too difficult to perform.
Some of the many everyday living activities that you might need to assist with include:
Self-care activities, including dressing, grooming, bathing, feeding, toilet hygiene, and moving about their home. Some of these self-care activities can be made easier for an elderly person with assistance, like a walker or a shower chair. These adaptive equipment and accessories items may be vital to the enrichment of a person who is elderly’s life.
Instrumental Daily Living Activities
While not absolutely vital, there are many instrumental daily living activities that make life more enjoyable and less mundane, and you may need to provide assistance with these as well. Some of these important activities include:
Cleaning, shopping, cooking meals, answering the phone, paying bills, and taking medications among many others. Some of these activities are daily, while some can be done weekly or monthly, this all depends on the specific activity. Technology can be used to help with some of these tasks and activities, like paying bills, answering the phone, or getting groceries.
Another consideration and something that will need to be taken care of when you have an elderly relative that you are caring for it where they will live. Not all senior citizens opt to live in nursing homes. In fact with policy genius, there is a wide range of other options for those who are aging to find a quality, affordable and rewarding place to live. Some living options and additional information on each includes:
- Staying in their own home. Many elderly people prefer to age gracefully within their own home, maintaining their independence as much as possible. As the caretaker, you’ll need to pop in occasionally to make sure that they are doing great.
- Living with relatives. This is another great option for those elderly folks who need some help. Living at home keeps costs way down, while also offering companionship to elderly family members during a tough time when they need it the most. This option is also one of the most cost-effective, as you’ll just be able to move the elderly member of your family into the home that you are already paying for yourself.
- Assisted living communities. Although a lot more expensive than some other living options, an assisted living community offers the freedom of living along to the elderly, while also offering some the coverage of some instrumental daily activities. In these communities, most elderly people will not have to worry about snow removal or lawn care, plus they will often be able to participate in activities such as cards, golf, swimming and more at community clubhouses.
- Nursing homes. These are often the most expensive option, but might be an absolute necessity, especially of the elderly is ill or has trouble getting around. In these facilities, your family member will get extensive care of all types, ensuring that they are safe and their medical needs are met promptly.
As we mentioned above, there are a number of financial concerns that will need to be addressed as you care for an elderly parent. Depending on the living option that the elderly parent chooses from above, the monthly costs of caring for your parent who is aging can be quite high.
Another consideration is that an elderly parent is most likely not bringing any more income, other than social security. If their retirement fund has dwindled or they did not have one, then their daily expenses will need to be covered. These expenses will include everything from food to medical costs.
There are some options, however, for financial assistance. There are some government assistance programs that can offer help to those who are caring for aging relatives, as well as disability benefits that they may be eligible for. Insurance policies can also come into play here for financial help to adults caring for their elderly parents.
Regardless of your situation, caring for your elderly parents can be very challenging, but also rewarding.
Gary P. Cubeta
(Serving Americans In All 50 States)