When parents start to get older you need to help them to plan how they are going to live and receive the care they will need in the coming years.
Many people become the primary caregiver to an elderly parent or both of their parents every day. Some have young children in their families too, which can put extra strain on your time and resources.
With the right level of planning and some honest assessment of what the near future may look like, you should be able to create a caregiving plan with your elderly parent that suits you both.
Here is a short guide to help you navigate this process and give your loved one the level of care they are going to need in old age. With the information here you should be able to find ways to look after your elderly parents that suit you, them, and your family.
Get The Paperwork In Order
Planning the future with an elderly parent can be a difficult subject to talk about and can cause friction between both of you and any siblings you have or other close family members. Without the proper paperwork in order, most importantly a will or having power of attorney assigned, things can become even more difficult later on.
Power of attorney can be very important, especially if one or both of your parents suffers from diminishing mental capacity through old age or dementia. Taking care of them and taking responsibility for important financial and legal decisions can be a daunting challenge, especially without proper paperwork and instructions set out early when your parent was of sounder mind.
The power of attorney can also be challenged in the Court of Protection which may remove the power of attorney if the legal challenge is successful. With the right legal help, you can solve Court of Protection problems and have the power of attorney removed from someone if a mistake was made or the nominee is behaving irresponsibly.
Assess The Level Of Care They Will Need
Getting older can be very difficult for people, especially as their body changes and loses mobility over time. The best care you can give is in your home, with you, but this can sometimes mean big changes need to be made, particularly if you want to plan for the future.
Mobility tends to worsen as people get older and your parents may gradually become less able to get around and struggle to look after themselves. You need to plan for the care they will need immediately and in the future as their physical and perhaps mental condition deteriorates.
Bathrooms will often need some helpful additions to aid mobility and increase the amount of time an elderly parents can bathe themselves which helps to prolong their quality of life. You may wish to consider installing an alarm system they can use if they run into difficulty in some areas of the house. These can be helpful in the bathrooms and the kitchen. They can press a button or pull a cord if they are in distress and in need of help.
Look For Support Available To Both Of You
There are many local and national government schemes that can help support people who are primary caregivers to family members.
This can come as financial aid for carers, or grants to fund quality of life home improvements. Many charities can also offer assistance, helping to provide care to your elderly parent while you take a break from caregiving for a few hours or even days if you need a holiday.
Social care for the elderly can be a massive support to both you and your parents when caring for them at home. You may need a break from the caregiving responsibilities, and they may need a break from you. It can be very beneficial to everyone to have some extra help from outside of the family. Knowing that there is someone else around to help and look after your parent if you have to go away is very reassuring and can help you to enjoy yourself when you are away and recuperate.
Talk To Your Employer
If you are going to start taking more care of your parent or parents as they get older this will impact many different aspects of your life, including your employment. By keeping your employer up to date on the changes in your life, you may find they are more than happy to give you some extra support to help.
Taking care of the elderly will often require more flexibility at work, as you may have to leave suddenly to take care of them or rearrange your working hours to suit their care schedule. Most employers will do as much as they can to help accommodate these demands, but they need to plan ahead too.
By including more people to help care for your elderly parent you are building a support network that will be there for you when caregiving gets difficult. Being able to rely on these people helps you have more time and energy to look after your parents in their old age, just as they looked after you when you were young.
Involve The Whole Family
Looking after children and elderly parents can sound like a nightmare, but families make great teams when they work together. By involving young children in caregiving and keeping them briefed on the demands that caregiving may place on the family, you will make things easier for them and for you.
Children and elderly parents actually work well together, and the bonds that they enjoy can be incredibly beneficial to both of them, and you. Young children and elderly parents will often have a similar eating schedule, and diet, which you can use to make mealtimes easier.
Try matching their schedules as much as possible, and get your parents involved in their grandchild’s activities when you can. Bringing grandma or grandad along on the school run can be a lot of fun for young children. When the kids are dropped off you are then ready in the car to take your parent to an appointment or the supermarket, or just out for a cup of tea and a chat if their mobility allows for it.
Children can also be very helpful and be an extra pair of hands when you need them if they are a little older. Teenagers can be especially helpful, when willing, and take on extra responsibilities like cooking or cleaning.
If you take the time to plan your parent’s care, with their input, you should be able to create a care plan that works for you both. Follow some of these tips and you should also be able to get extra support from other caregivers as well as other important parties like your employer.
Your parents took care of you when you were a child, and this is an opportunity to repay them for the care they gave and the sacrifices they made to help you grow into the adult you are now.
Doing this also sets an example for your young children. Hopefully, they will follow in your footsteps and give you the care and support you need when you are elderly.