At an age when any moment feels like it could be our last, many elders do not want to shift to an alien setting of nursing or care homes. In such cases, caring for elderly parents at home remains the sole option. However, with the prevalence of options like working from home or the availability of full-time caretakers, taking care of elderly parents at home becomes feasible.
Why choose home care over a nursing home?
No matter the level of facilities & care accessible at a care home, the hospital environment can induce anxiety & uneasiness. Also, living among people with similar age-related problems & watching them succumb to those problems can harm their mental health.
After all, they have spent a lifetime creating a haven for themselves & their loved ones. It seems all too natural to want to spend the concluding days at their home in a familiar abode.
Tips for Caring for Elderly Parents At Home:
Finding the right support system & care providers for your elderly parents can be difficult. Often this responsibility falls in the lap of the eldest or a more responsible child. When it comes to elderly care services at home in Rhode Island, you need to contact them as they provide services to elderly folks to feel natural & others may feel inadequate.
You can provide attentive & affectionate care with proper planning & coordination. We are sharing 10 tips on how you can prepare better for supportive care for your elderly parents:
- Appraise the situation:
It begins with assessing the signs that your elderly parents will need separate & focused care. They may have lost a significant amount of weight & an interest in their health hygiene, their house is in disarray & they are falling sick frequently. These are some signs that your parents will need some long-term support to sustain themselves.
You will have to assess the situation for the number & kind of support they will need. You can create a daily, weekly, & monthly list of needs & services that they will be needing.
- Share & coordinate the responsibilities:
If you have your own family or living with your siblings, you can share the responsibilities to help with the situation. If you have a full-time job, you will need to coordinate your schedule with the schedule of medical care professionals & domestic help.
Keeping a flexible schedule or sharing the responsibility with someone to not miss the therapy session or medication time with your parents is crucial.
- Utilize the telehealth services:
The health care services are available through digital communications & telephone are telehealth services. 40% of Americans have used telehealth services before the COVID pandemic & more have joined to use these services. Many prefer telehealth services over in-person visits, whether the services are for mental health or consultation purposes.
Most health service providers can prescribe medications electronically & can even send them to your pharmacy store. Patients favor telehealth services for their flexible schedules. You can avail of the consultation through Live Video-Conferencing or Asynchronous Video, where you can deliver documented health history of the patient electronically to the doctors.
- Preparing the house against any mishap:
You will have to prepare the home to ensure the limited mobility of your elderly parents. You can accommodate their needs in easily accessible places. Clutter, point & blunt objects can not be allowed to lie around unsupervised while caring for elderly parents at home.
The biggest hurdle may occur while securing the bathroom as it is a more accident-prone area. You may have to elder-proof the house the way you will child-proof it.
- Continue the social life:
Positive social interactions speed up the recovery process & prove beneficial to physical & mental health. Elders often feel isolated or lonely as they increasingly start perceiving themselves as irrelevant in the lives of their loved ones. In such cases, talking to others & sharing their routine & problems can make them feel included.
Continuing their social interactions will encourage them to take further interest in mundane or new activities. It can motivate them to take their physical health seriously. Observing so many things happening before their eyes can temporarily take their mind off their problems & negative thoughts.
- Upskill yourself:
Senior citizens are often facing many medical issues at the same time. It is advisable to become well-versed with their medical care, contacts of their health specialists like their physiotherapists & medication timings.
Part of the National Institute of Health The National Library of Medicine hosts MedlinePlus. It has an online detailed & updated database of information on health conditions, medical tests & all the drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Evaluate the finance & insurance options:
Securing the financials early on by investing in an insurance or medical claim policy will help you plan for your options better. Senior citizens who can not claim a premium Medicare plan & have low income & limited assets may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program.
You need to take time to access both short-term & long-term financial & insurance options. The medical bills & the living costs per person in the household can increase with time. Thus, having alternatives will help you better deal with any unexpected situation.
- Look for the free or low-cost public benefits:
Several federal, state, & local portals can provide free or economic benefits to elderly people. One such site is the Administration on Aging (AOA) by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services which provides free health insurance counseling, legal assistance, & elder abuse prevention. They will also help with long-term care planning.
There is another option of community programs & organizations that run parent care services. These services help with transportation to a hospital, assisting during paperwork, home maintenance, & food.
- Practicing exercise & meditation:
Severe joint pain may prohibit elders from excessive movement & only exercise can bring them some respite from their joint pain. Physical activity will motivate them to step out of the house once in a while & become part of the surrounding hustle-bustle.
Along with exercising regularly, meditation can bring some peace to a restless & troubled mind. Disabled senior citizens can avail of ADA National Network will provide information, briefings & free publications on the regulations granting universal access to the disabled.
- Take care of the caregiver:
Lastly, it is critical to take care of the person providing constant support & care to others. Caring for elderly parents at home for a long time can be a mentally & physically taxing job. It is not uncommon for primary caregivers to suffer from depression & melancholy themselves.
We as a family or a society must extend similar support & care to them. Acknowledging & appreciating them for their deeds will help them continue their responsibilities with the same zeal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
We believe there might still be some queries on caring for elderly parents at home that may need some direct & elementary answers. For this, we have compiled a list of most frequently asked questions on this topic:
- What are some basic ways of caring for elderly parents at home?
Some basic ways of taking care of an elderly parent at home are:
- To Prepare customized care facilities to help focus on the individual needs of parents as both the parents might be facing different issues & have different temperaments as well.
- Coordinate thoroughly with all the care providers of your parents like the full-time or part-time nurse you may have hired, physiotherapist, domestic help, or cook.
- You can create time & space to include other family members or friends in this new situation. It is essential for an ailing or aging parent to feel relevant & loved in their social life.
- What do caregivers need most?
While caring for an elderly parent at home, we often neglect the toll it takes on the physical & mental health of the caregiver. So while they are busy taking care of their parents, we can extend similar support & care to the caregivers. We can share a part of their financial responsibilities, provide respect & a pair of listening ears to them, & acknowledge them for their commitment to their parents.
- What are the qualities of a good caregiver?
Some qualities which either the caregiver usually possesses or they develop over time to do justice to their responsibilities:
- Empathy- we will be able to provide care if we can understand their problem from their viewpoint.
- Patience- being constantly available for someone most of the time is no easy task. Practicing patience is of great importance.
- Awareness- as parents are counting on us all the time to make their every decision, awareness in monitoring their medication & medical care becomes crucial.
In the end:
Caring for elderly parents at home under your watch can bring satisfaction in terms of the quality of support & care that your parents will receive. It does not need to be solitary & all-consuming work. Services like the Health & Human Services (HHS) help you & your parents in your pursuit as a caregiver.