Juggling all aspects of home care for an elderly parent is a daunting prospect for siblings—but an even greater task for an only child. Without a family team to support the needs of an aging person, an only child feels the overburdensome responsibility of managing senior care.
Single-handedly taking care of an aging parent has significant impact on the adult child’s overall health, well-being and career. The caregiver is likely to feel overwhelmed, emotionally stressed and may even experience the loss of work opportunities or a dwindling social circle. Here are four tips help with solo caregiving:
Tip 1: Use FMLA Benefits
In recent years, a family caregiver who is tasked with the responsibility of solely caring for an elderly parent has some support when it comes to the workplace. Six states provide paid family leave benefits. Alternatively, employees may take time off without pay.
In Illinois, the Family and Medical Leave Act gives workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a parent. The drawback is that family caregivers forgo pay. Sacrificing income when finances are most needed to tend to Mom or Dad is a difficult choice.
The Illinois Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act offers caregivers a practical solution. The Act provides employees who work for a company of any size with 12 weeks of partially paid leave for FMLA reasons. Twelve weeks allows time to develop a workable care plan for an aging parent.
Tip 2: Establish a Support System
Some caregivers without siblings to rely on for support turn to the contributions of a willing spouse. The help from a spouse is invaluable, especially when it is financially necessary that the primary caregiver continues to work. Partners are able to share the responsibility of elder care equally.
Aside from a helpful spouse, establishing a dependable support network helps the family caregiver achieve balance. The only child may reach out to a parent’s friends or neighbors to offer the senior moral support, provide rides to the grocery store or mow the parent’s lawn.
A parent who is affiliated with a faith organization is likely to have an established social network. If the parent is an active member of the organization, the adult child can turn to congregations to provide support. Members offer fellowship, prepare meals and help seniors renew their hope.
Faith-based care should not be overlooked, since they provide invaluable programs for seniors. Centers may provide memory care, hospice programs and assisted living for the aging population. Faith-based care providers offer not only spiritual programs, but social and physical recreation ones.
Tip 3: Utilize Local Aging Programs
The Illinois Department of Aging offers family caregivers local, valuable resources to help support their elderly parents. The Department’s Choices for Care Program, for instance, provides seniors and families with the chance to become acquainted with various home- and community-based services.
Solo family caregivers with aging, low-income parents might also utilize the Illinois Volunteer Money Management Demonstration Program. Trained volunteers intervene with creditors, help seniors review and pay bills and manage monthly benefits, among a host of many other finance-related services.
Family caregivers may seek resources, like the Department’s Residential Repair & Modification program, which modifies the homes of elderly individuals in efforts to promote increased safety. Renovation services are intended to make bathing, cooking and climbing stairs safer for seniors.
An only child will have an easier time ensuring Mom or Dad’s safety when the bathroom is equipped with grab bars and a shower bench, the faucets are replaced with lever handles, handrails are installed along stairs and ramps are built for improved access to the home.
Tip 4: Hire Respite Care
Caregivers who are an only child may also seek relief from respite care. Brief time away from caregiving responsibilities refreshes the caregiver’s outlook, energizes the individual and prepares her to return to the elderly parent with renewed focus and enthusiasm.
Respite care may be arranged with a friend who will sit with Mom or Dad as the primary caregiver spends the afternoon shopping or goes to the gym. Respite care may be arranged to cover a few hours of care, an entire day or even longer.
While a friend or volunteer may be willing to temporarily step in, respite care may also be hired from an in-home elder care agency. Professional respite workers perform care duties while the family caregiver goes on vacation for two weeks or enjoys a day with friends.
Respite care is designed to be flexible and fit into the family caregiver’s schedule. Another benefit of respite care is that services accommodate urgent needs. An only child who suddenly falls ill can rely on respite care until she recuperates and is able to return to caregiving duties.
Frequent breaks from caregiving duties are essential to maintain balance, avoid burnout and reduce physical and emotional stress. Primary caregivers have ample support from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our home care agency delivers the most compassionate respite care to seniors.
In-home respite care services benefit everyone involved, from the elderly parent to the primary caregiver. Benefits to the family caregiver include decreased risk of depression, refreshed mental and physical energy, more sleep and less stress. Caregivers also have time for their immediate families.
Rather than allow mental health issues to arise or lack of sleep steer you off course, turn to the area’s most reliable respite care services. Assisting Hands Home Care service providers are licensed, insured and bonded to give families maximum peace of mind.
Caregiving, especially for an only child, is a fulltime responsibility. Like any fulltime role, breaks are necessary. Assisting Hands Home Care respite care services reduce the stresses that accompany managing caregiving alone. Our caregivers will arrive at your doorstep whenever you call for relief.
Families in the surrounding communities of Hinsdale, La Grange, Brookfield, Downers Grove Illinois and DuPage and Cook counties, rely on Assisting Hands Home Care for our dependable elderly care services. We will set up an in-home consultation and customize a fitting care plan to meet your loved one’s needs.