7 Tips for caring for elderly parents at home
When it comes to caring for elderly parents at home, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
Remember, they are moving out of their own home and coming to live with their adult children.
For some, this is a role reversal as the elderly parents have always seen themselves as the adult in the family.
Be prepared for significant adjustments to living arrangements that both elderly parents and adult children caregivers must accept.
Here are 7 of the most important tips for adult children caring for aging parents to make this process a success:
1. Assess your parents’ needs
Caring for elderly at home requires understanding the specific needs of an aging parent.
What tasks are they currently able to do on their own and what do they need help with?
How is their overall health – do they have health issues and how much assistance or in home care?
Or are they in relatively good health?
Will they need help with medication and doctor appointments?
Have an honest discussion with your parents about their wishes and preferences.
This includes everything from where they want to live to what type of care they want (or don’t want).
Talk to your parents and ask them what they need help with, what their concerns are, and what they would like to do as they age.
Establish rules and expectations
As the primary caregiver, it’s important to set boundaries and establish rules for your parents.
This includes things like no smoking in the house, setting meal times, and asking them to help with chores.
It can also be helpful to put together a list of household rules for all family members to follow.
2. Create a care plan
Once you have a good understanding of your parents’ needs, create a care plan detailing the specific tasks you will be helping them with.
What will your day-to-day routine look like? What type of care will your parents need?
What kind of support can you realistically provide?
Ensure everyone is on the same page
However, when it comes to caring for elderly parents, everyone in the family will likely have different ideas about what needs to be done and when.
By creating a detailed care plan, you can ensure that everyone is aware of the parents’ needs and expectations and that everyone is on the same page when it comes to providing care.
Coordinate with other family members
Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to caring for aging parents.
This includes sharing caregiving responsibilities such as attending medical appointments with the elderly parent and communicating regularly.
It includes deciding which tasks you and your siblings will take on, setting up a schedule, and budgeting for expenses.
Remember that it is also important to have a backup plan in case of emergencies.
Be sure to include specific times and days for each task, as well as who will be responsible for completing them.
This can help to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts down the road.
Ensure that your parents’ needs are being met
A care plan can also help you to make sure that your parents’ needs are being met properly.
You can outline what specific tasks need to be done on a daily or weekly basis, and you can also create a timeline for when certain tasks need to be completed.
This can include anything from preparing meals and washing clothes to helping them get around and taking them to doctor appointments.
It will help you to keep track of whether or not your parents are getting the care they need, and it will also help you to identify any areas where more assistance may be needed.
Protect yourself from potential legal issues
If you’re caring for your elderly parents at home, it’s important to understand that you could be held liable if anything goes wrong.
By creating a care plan, you can help to protect yourself from any legal issues that may arise down the road.
The plan should include information about who is responsible for each task, as well as what steps will be taken in the event of an emergency.
3. Create a support network
You can’t do it all yourself
You’re already busy with your own life and you can’t take on the added responsibility of caring for elderly parents full-time.
Trying to care for them on your own will be overwhelming and stressful, so it’s important to build a support network of family members and friends who can help out when needed.
Their needs will change over time
Caring for elderly parents is a long-term commitment, and their needs will change as they age.
You need to be prepared for anything from medical emergencies to changes in mobility or daily activities.
Having a support network in place will help you meet these challenges as they come up.
This may require calling for professional geriatric care managers to step in to discuss assistance options and any additional support focused on senior care.
You need someone to talk to
Caring for elderly parents can be a challenging and emotional experience.
It’s important to have someone you can talk to who understands what you’re going through.
To provide optimal care for your elderly parents, it’s important to build a supportive network of family and friends.
A caregiver support network of family and friends will give you the emotional support you need during this time.
This can include regular check-ins from other family members, volunteers who can help with errands or cleaning, or even a home health aide.
4. Prepare your home for your parents’ arrival
If your parents are moving in with you, it is important to prepare your home ahead of time.
This includes making sure there is enough room for them to live comfortably, setting up any necessary medical equipment, and creating a space where they can relax and feel at home.
Invest in quality equipment and supplies
To make life at home easier for your elderly parents, it’s important to invest in quality equipment and supplies.
For example make sure it includes items like comfortable furniture, walkers or wheelchairs, ramps or stair lifts, and bed rails.
Toilet hygiene is a very important consideration-your bathroom needs to be modified so that the aging parent can still manage their personal hygiene practices and do so comfortably.
It’s also helpful to have an emergency medical kit on hand in case medical care is delayed.
5. Establish a budget
When it comes to caring for elderly parents, there are a lot of expenses you’ll need to account for.
First and foremost, you’ll need to set up a budget to cover your parents’ living expenses.
This may include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, food, and medical bills.
Caregiving can be expensive, so it’s important to know how much you’ll need to budget for in advance.
Anticipate your expenses and plan for them
Caring for elderly parents can be expensive, and it’s important to have a solid idea of what you’ll be spending money on.
You also need to factor in the cost of hiring a caregiver, if necessary.
This includes things like groceries, medical bills, and home repairs/updates and modifications that may be necessary.
Manage your own finances properly
When you’re responsible for another person’s care, you must be able to handle your own financial obligations as well.
You may need to take time off from work to care for your parents, which could impact your income and ability to save money for a rainy day.
Juggling both can be difficult, so you must have a clear budget in place.
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of caring for elderly parents and start spending more money than you can afford.
But doing this can put a lot of stress on both you and your parents.
By creating a budget, you can stay within your means and avoid any costly surprises down the road.
You can ensure that you’re taking care of your elderly parents in the most affordable way possible.
6. Stay patient and flexible
Caring for elderly parents can be challenging, but it is important to stay patient and flexible throughout the process.
Things will not always go according to plan, so be prepared to adapt as needed.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a break and ask for help from family or friends.
Remember that your parents are still individuals with feelings and needs of their own, so be sure to treat them with respect at all times.
One way is to provide regular visiting hours where the adult child can come and spend time with the parent.
During this time, the adult child can help with meals, bathing, and other activities of daily living.
The adult child can also provide transportation for doctor’s appointments or other errands.
Another way to care for an elderly parent is by hiring a caregiver to come to the home and assist with activities of daily living.
This can be helpful if the adult child lives far away or has a busy schedule.
The caregiver can also provide transportation for doctor’s appointments or other errands.
The adult child needs to talk to the elderly parent about what kind of care they would like.
Some elderly parents may prefer to have a caregiver come to the home, while others may prefer to have their adult child visit regularly.
Both parties must be on the same page so that there is no confusion or resentment.
7. Legal planning
There are a lot of legal considerations when caring for an elderly parent, from creating a power of attorney to setting up guardianship arrangements.
Make sure you talk to an attorney about the best way to protect your parents’ interests.
Ensure that your parents’ wishes are followed
If they become unable to make decisions for themselves.
This is especially important if they have specific wishes about things like end-of-life care.
You’ll also want to be sure that their medical directives and power of attorney are in place.
These documents will allow you to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.
Finally, you may need to create guardianship arrangements if your parents become unable to care for themselves.
This will ensure that someone is legally responsible for their welfare.
It’s a big responsibility, but with proper planning, you can ensure that your parents are taken care of – both now and in the future.
Protect yourself from potential legal and financial complications
If you are the primary caregiver for your elderly parents, and something happens to your parents and they don’t have a will, you could wind up inheriting a lot of responsibility.
Along with this responsibility, you could be faced with any associated risks and costs.
Probate is the legal process of sorting out a person’s debts and assets after they die.
If your parents don’t have a will, their estate will go through probate.
If you are named as the executor of their estate, you will be responsible for managing the probate process.
Understand that this can be time-consuming and complicated.
You may also be responsible for paying any debts your parents accrued during their lifetime, as well as any taxes on their estate.
In some cases, you may even be held liable for any losses incurred by the estate.
Creating a legal plan for your parents can help protect you from these potential complications.
It can also give you peace of mind knowing that their wishes will be followed and their interests will be protected.
Ensure that your parents receive the best possible care
For example, if you set up a power of attorney or health care proxy, you can designate someone else to make decisions on your behalf if needed.
This can be a great relief in situations where you are unable to take on the caregiving role yourself.
It can also ensure that your parents receive the best possible care, even if you are not able to be there for them.
Of course, it’s important to talk to your parents about their wishes before setting up any legal arrangements.
You should also make sure that the person you designate is someone you trust to make decisions in your parents’ best interests.
All the best. You got this!