Top 5 Caregiving Strategies That Can Help Elderly Parents Stay At Home Longer
Most adult children eventually take on the role of being a caregiver as a way of keeping their aging parents at home. This is often because they promised their parents they would never move them into an assisted living facility or nursing home or because they don’t have the money to cover the cost of care.
For most elderly people, being able to remain at home is ideal as long as the living environment is safe. From the perspective of a caregiver, however, taking care of someone else can be extremely stressful. In fact, many caregivers wind up making themselves sick or burning out because they are devoting so much of their time and energy to caring for someone else. Oftentimes, their own needs are neglected or pushed to the side.
As a caregiver, it is important to slow down a little bit so that you don’t wind up hurting your own health. The tips that follow will help keep the amount of stress that you experience in check. As a result, you can help your parents stay at home longer without destroying your health and well-being in the process.
1. Get A Clear Picture Of The Level of Care That Is Required
It is easy to get so involved in the day-to-day tasks associated with the caregiving duties that you don’t have time to think about the amount of care that your loved one actually requires.
You may find it helpful to write down all of the tasks that you help with on a day-to-day basis. Are you only helping during the day or do you also have to help at night? Does your loved one require around-the-clock care?
If you are having trouble finding time to do this or if you can’t remember everything that you do, try carrying a little notepad around with you. As you complete different tasks throughout the day, jot them down in the notepad. After a week or so, you should have a clear picture of exactly what your loved one requires.
2. Be Honest With Yourself About How Much You Can Realistically Do
Take a look at the list. Is it really realistic for you to take on all of those tasks by yourself? If you are honest with yourself, you probably will find that you are doing more than you should. If you keep going at that pace, you can do real harm to your physical and mental well-being.
3. Seek Outside Help If You Need It
If you are overburdened, you should seriously think about asking for help. Granted, that is often easier said than done.
Spend some time thinking about how you can minimize the number of items that you have to do each day. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to finding solutions that work for both you and your loved one.
Here are some ideas that you may want to try:
- Talk to other family members to see if they can help with specific tasks. If they aren’t up for providing assistance with personal care, they could also help with tasks like managing your loved one’s finances, dealing with the insurance company, or doing household chores.
- Consider looking for adult day care providers in your area. This not only gives your loved one a chance to get to know other people and provides them with a social outlet but it also gives you a chance to take a break.
- Look into hiring an in-home care provider.
- Check to see if there are any volunteer organizations in your area that help with senior care.
- Explore whether or not respite care could give you the break that you need.
- Evaluate your to-do list to see if any of the tasks on it could be automated.
4. Split The Work With Someone Else
If you excel at being a caregiver, it actually can work against you. When people see that you have everything under control, they are less likely to step in and offer help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your brothers and sisters or other relatives to see if they can assist you.
Splitting the caretaker responsibilities can be as simple or as complex as you want. For instance, you could have your parent move in with each sibling for a year at a time. Alternatively, you could see if one of your brothers or sisters could stay with your parent for one week out of the month so that you can have a break.
Once people realize that you need help, most of them will be more than happy to step up to the plate. Although you may never be able to find the ideal solution, even getting a little bit of a break can make a big difference in your health and well-being.
5. Keep Caregiving Costs Under Control
The costs associated with caregiving are often quite high. Explore ways that you can save money. Look for outside financial help if you need it.