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Around 54% of Americans in their 40s have a living parent that’s 65 years old or more and they are also raising a child younger than 18. If the time has come in your life to care for an elderly loved one, and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with this new chapter in your life, you are not alone.
There are plenty of others in your shoes trying to learn how to navigate the situation.
Keep reading to learn our top tips to help you during this season of life.
Make a Plan
You want to talk to your loved one about the help that they personally feel they need. Then create a plan for how to get them that care. This is where you decide if they need to live on their own but with some help, move in with you, or move into an aging care home full time.
When you are making a care plan make sure you also get your loved one’s doctor/s involved. This will help you make an informed decision if you’re looking for aged care facilities because you will have a better idea of the care they might require. If you are planning on moving them into your home you still want to get their primary doctor involved so that you know what to expect.
Make the Home Safe
Safety should be a #1 priority. You want to reduce the risk of slipping and falling because the older you get, the harder it is for the body to heal.
It is best to get rid of any throw rugs around the home to prevent tripping. You also want to add safety rails in tubs and showers. Create clear paths by getting rid of the extra clutter.
Set the water heater temperature to below 120 F or add anti-scaling devices to showers and sinks to prevent accidental burns with water. Make sure to place nightlights throughout the home to avoid tripping and falling at night.
If you work full time it is ok to get the help you need without feeling guilty about it. It’s perfectly ok to hire additional help or find help from relatives and friends.
You can also enroll your parent in an adult day program where they can socialize and you can have peace of mind that they are ok. Another option is to hire a caregiver to help you out around the home on daily tasks.
You can also opt to have home delivery for everyday supplies and buy in bulk, so you don’t have to worry about it often. Sometimes you want to ask a close relative to help you out for the weekend so that you can get a bit of a break and give yourself the chance to rest and recharge.
Many seniors do not have the ability to prepare, shop, or have the energy to prepare their meals. For this reason, they are at risk of malnutrition because they will more than likely skip meals or eat foods that don’t have any nutritional value.
Look for ways to provide easy ready meals so that when they are hungry they can easily prepare or warm up their food. Another option is to check if there is a Meals on Wheels program in your area. This is a volunteer program that brings hot meals to people that can’t prepare food for themselves.
You also want to keep your parent engaged and active so that they don’t go into a state of depression or a state of loneliness. Look for library activities, church events, community events, and volunteer opportunities for the elderly. This will help your loved one find others their age so that they have someone to speak to and unwind with other than you.
Socializing with family and grandkids is also something else to keep in mind when you are setting up their social calendar.
Now You Can Take Care of Your Elderly Loved One
With our tips above you can make informed decisions about caring for your elderly loved one. Remember that once upon a time your loved one didn’t need help to get through life, so this might be a difficult chapter for them.
Try to keep this in mind so that you can treat them with the love and care they deserve and need. Also, remember that sometimes plans will change, and it’s ok to adapt to fit your loved one’s needs.