Adults want to age in place and avoid having to move to an assisted living facility. For many families, this can mean taking care of elderly loved ones in your home.
However, most adults don’t know how to care for an elderly parent at home or where to get help when caring for older parents at home.
Are you a family caregiver who’s unsure how to take care of aging parents?
Would some “taking care of aging parents tips” be helpful on your caregiving journey?
Do you know how to find elder care experts who can aid in helping to care for aging parents?
If you’re in need of resources to help with caregiving, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re providing you with professional insight into taking care of aging parents and at-home elder care. You’ll learn about:
- How to look after aging loved ones at home
- Signs that you need help caring for loved ones
- Where to find expert geriatric care management
Let’s start our conversation with some tips on caring for a loved one at home.
How to Care for an Elderly Parent at Home
Many adults take on the role of caregiver without knowing exactly what to do. Though every situation is unique and may require slightly different considerations, there are some steps any family caregiver can take to ensure quality care for their loved ones.
Here are four of our top “taking care of aging parents tips” to get you started with caregiving.
1. Assess Your Loved One’s Needs
The first step any family caregiver should take is to assess their loved one’s care needs.
- Do they need assistance getting in/out of bed?
- Can they bathe, dress, and groom themselves?
- Are they still able to drive on their own?
- Have they shown signs of dementia (e.g., forgetfulness, etc.)?
It can be a good idea to write down everything that you help your loved one with during the first few days you’re with them. By taking time to observe and record the tasks your loved one regularly needs assistance with, you’ll get an understanding of what their actual needs are.
You should also note that assessing your loved one’s needs is an ongoing process. As they age, your loved one’s level of care may change, as will your caregiving roles/responsibilities.
2. Be Realistic About the Care You Can Provide
If you’ve followed step one, then you should have an accurate idea of what caring for your older parents at home will look like. Now, you can take that list and consider what level of care you can realistically provide on your own.
Be truthful and honest with yourself about which tasks you do and don’t feel comfortable with. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew and put yourself in a position to become burned out.
Deciding what you can and can’t do for your loved one will help you know if you need to seek out professional in-home help (more on this later).
3. Prioritize Your Loved One’s Health and Safety
Something that every family caregiver can do when helping care for aging parents is to prioritize their loved one’s health and safety.
Looking after a loved one’s health means caring for them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Some ways you can meet health needs include:
- Providing a balanced diet and plenty of water
- Reminding them to take medications
- Taking them to/from medical appointments
- Ensuring they get exercise if they’re mobile (i.e., taking short walks)
- Playing stimulating games with them
- Encouraging and helping them to stay in touch with other family or friends
It’s easy for some aspects of health, like mental and emotional, to take a backseat to physical health. But being conscious of all your loved one’s health needs can go a long way in improving their overall quality of life.
Considering safety hazards and making adjustments to your home should also be a priority.
A few of the most common safety issues to address are:
- Tightening or installing railings on stairs
- Clearing floors of clutter to minimize tripping hazards
- Putting frequently used items in easy to reach places
- Ensuring rooms are well-lit
- Placing non-slip strips in the bathroom and shower/tub
- Making emergency numbers easy to access
If your loved one is living with dementia, you may also want to think about installing dementia-proof locks or getting your loved one a GPS tracker in case they wander.
4. Exercise Patience and Compassion
Lastly, family caregivers can provide quality care to their loved ones by exercising patience and compassion.
By accepting help from a family member, your loved one is giving up their sense of independence—a big change for individuals who are used to doing everything on their own.
Being patient and showing compassion can greatly benefit you and your loved one, as it can:
- Help your loved one feel more comfortable with receiving assistance
- Minimize frustrations and potential arguments
- Keep you from doing or saying anything you’ll regret
- Provide opportunities for understanding between you and your loved one
Patience and compassion might be tough when situations don’t go as planned. However, learning to show them will make the caregiving process more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Need Help Taking Care of Elderly Loved Ones in Your Home?
There may come a time when your loved one needs more care than you can provide. Or, an issue or diagnosis may arise that you aren’t sure how to handle. In these situations, it’s beneficial to seek out expert assistance and connect with an elder care professional.
Getting help can relieve your caregiver burden and ensure that your loved one receives the care they need. It may also allow you to step away from caregiving for a while and look after your own health.
However, many family caregivers don’t start looking for help until it’s too late. So, when should you begin searching for help taking care of elderly parents in your home?
Some signals that indicate the need for professional assistance could include:
- Your loved one becomes immobile or bedridden
- A crisis or new diagnosis arises that you don’t understand
- Your loved one develops dementia
- You’re feeling burned out or overwhelmed
- You’re unsure whether home care or assisted living is best for your loved one
If you find yourself in any of these situations or feel unequipped to handle aging parents and elder care responsibilities, reach out to us today.
At Stowell Associates, helping to care for aging parents through exceptional Care Management services is what we’ve dedicated ourselves to. If you live in the Milwaukee, WI area, you can connect in person with a trained Care Manager. Your Care Manager will:
- Assess your loved one’s care needs
- Develop a personalized nursing care plan
- Oversee in-home caregivers
- Ensure you and your loved one are set up for long-term success
Care Managers will regularly reassess your loved one’s needs and check in with you to keep everyone on the same page.
If you’re looking for an in-home caregiver for your loved one, you can contact TheKey. They provide trained, in-person caregivers to assist aging adults as they age in their homes.
Contact us to learn more about how Care Management can benefit you and your loved one today.