A Guide to Caring for Elderly Parents

Caring for elderly parents is something that many people take on as their parents’ grow older. Our parents give us so much while we’re growing up, and there comes a time when that ‘debt’ must be repaid. Ensuring your parents have access to suitable care is a priority for many people, but it can be difficult to know where and when to start. 

Treatment plan

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The first step is working out a solid, thorough care plan for your parent. Consider your parent’s abilities and drawbacks to work out a plan that supports them in a way they feel comfortable with. It’s important to take into account their medical needs, your budget, as well as support options from other loved ones. Often your parent will need to attend the hospital or doctor’s surgery, so transportation to and from their appointments will need to be arranged and subsequently filtered into the care plan.

Whatever care plan you choose, you may consider upgrading their experience by enrolling them in physiotherapy sessions. For instance, exercising will keep seniors active, leading to a longer and healthier lifestyle. Although some seniors may lack the motivation needed to work out, you can help them by finding a group of like-minded people. By searching for senior exercise groups near me, you’ll be able to get in touch with exercise classes for limited mobility. 

Fortunately, exercises can be performed with most seniors, even those suffering from chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure. However, it is still best to have them check in with their doctor before enrolling. Dizziness, chest pain, an infection, or recent surgery are some conditions that may not be compatible with exercise.

You can find out more information about building a care plan for your elderly parents from this care plan guide

Empower them

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Often, sourcing external assistance for elderly parents can have an impact on their mental health, as they can feel a loss of control and autonomy, which can be hard to deal with. This can be combatted by giving them a say in how their care is administered, so that the best course of action can be taken. Any activities your loved one can (and wants to) do for themselves, it’s important to let them continue to do them, such as cooking, cleaning or taking medication. Consider making common tasks and activities easier by finding practical solutions that work for them. This encourages elders to stay active, which is good for resolving mobility issues. This can help them retain a sense of autonomy over their routines, and therefore they will feel more positive about transitioning to assisted care.

Besides making routines easier, be mindful of how you speak to your parents. Sometimes, in an attempt to nurture them, we speak to them as children, which can be disempowering. It is also important that we include them by avoiding stereotypical labels like ‘elderly’ or ‘aging dependents’ that remind them of their limitations. By using inclusive language, we are able to empower them to continue being productive in society.

If residential care is the best care option for your loved one, it’s important to give them a say in the type of care facility you opt for. They need to make sure that the new place they’re living in is somewhere they can feel safe and comfortable.

Be realistic

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You need to be realistic with the amount of care your parent may need. As much as you may want to do it yourself and support them without the need of external care, this isn’t always the best thing to do. Their safety and quality of life must be the priority, so if they need a level of care that you are unable to provide, home care services are the logical next step. There are a wide variety of care services available to cater to all types of situations, from live-in carers, night carers, hourly carers and residential care providers. They are highly flexible options that can provide an appropriate amount of care to your elderly parent, and can even work in tandem with you if you want to be involved in their care plan too.

Keeping these things in mind when organising care for your elderly parent can ease the process of planning care, and ensure that you put in place the best possible care for them. 

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