According to the United States Census, there are more than 54 million Americans who are 65 years and older. Aging is a part of life. And many adult children don’t fully realize the extent to which their parents’ aging will affect them.
If your parents are already elderly and living an independent lifestyle, then you might not have any dramatic concerns. However, a time will come when the effects of aging become more apparent, and long-term care might be necessary.
Caring for an elderly parent can be a lot of work. But by following our guide, you should have an easier and more successful time. So keep on reading and we’ll walk you through everything you’ll want to know about caring for an elderly parent.
1. Assess How Much Care is Needed
The first thing you’re going to need to do is to figure out how much care your elderly parent is going to need. You should be cautious about taking on too much responsibility too soon. This can lead to you becoming quickly overwhelmed and exhausted.
It would be smart to make a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. This will help you get an idea of what kind of care is going to be required.
2. Living Arrangements
Looking at where and how senior parents live is important to ensuring their well-being. Is your parent living alone? Do they live near other family members?
Is your parent open to living in a more supportive area or living arrangement? Or would they like to stay where they are?
These are all important questions that you need to answer so that you can help provide the best living situation for your parent.
Living at Home
Aging at home is a choice that many seniors prefer. However, as a senior gets older they still may want support from a professional caregiver. There are many services that offer in-home care for seniors that take care of the patient in their own home.
This allows the senior to still live independently but get the assistance that they need.
Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities are best for seniors who would like to own or rent a home in a community with people their own age. These residents still get to enjoy independent and active lives.
Amenities at these kinds of communities can include housekeeping, lawn care, security, gyms, and clubhouses. Some will even come with their own transportation services, laundry services, organized social activities, and group meals. These communities don’t tend to come with medical support.
Assisted Living Communities
Elderly parents who are still fairly independent but might need some caregiving and assistance with their normal activities may turn to assisted living communities. These activities can include bathing, dressing, meals, and help with transportation and medication.
A nursing home is ideal for a senior citizen who needs a living environment with caregiving and medical surveillance but doesn’t need a hospital. These homes have on-duty nursing staff all day long.
There is likely to be some financial impact when you make changes in order to support the well-being of your elderly parent. Your parent might be able to receive financial support from government programs. It’s important that you make sure that they take advantage of any programs that they might be eligible for.
They also might need help in managing their finances and retirement accounts. You might want to take a more active role in helping your parents now so that they’ll be financially secure as they get older.
If you’re a caregiver, then you also might be able to get tax relief by claiming a senior parent as a dependent. You also might be able to deduct medical expenses.
You can also make sure that your parents get help during tax season from various state, federal, and independent groups. There are many groups that offer free tax help to seniors.
4. Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
One of the most important parts of caregiving is taking care of yourself before you take care of others. If your health fails, then you and your elderly parents are going to be in trouble.
You should prioritize your health by eating healthy and nutritious meals. You want to make sure that you get plenty of sleep and drink a lot of water. If you have the energy and time, you should exercise at least three times each week.
And most important, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need help or just want to take a break. Don’t be afraid to ask a spouse, sibling, friend, or relative to share some of the caregiving responsibility for a day or even a weekend. This will let you have some time away and give you a chance to rest and get your energy back.
With this in mind, you should know that getting help from friends and family members are going to be different in each situation. You should try to be flexible and creative in your approach to sharing the workload.
The Importance of Using Our Guide to Caring for an Elderly Parent
Hopefully, after reading the above guide to caring for an elderly parent, you now have a better understanding of what to for your parents. We all want to make our elderly parents’ lives easier for them. And by knowing how you can help, you can make a meaningful impact during the time when your parents need you most.
Make sure to check out the rest of our guide for more helpful articles!