Parents have taken care of their children since the beginning of time. But what happens when the tables are turned, and it’s the child’s turn to care for an aging parent?
This role reversal can make it difficult for both parties to adjust to their respective systems. The child may feel like they’re not doing enough, while the parent may feel like they’re becoming a burden. But with some planning and preparation, this transition can go smoothly.
Preparation is vital for this situation, with studies showing that less than half of Americans have any long-term care plan. This includes financial and physical preparation and understanding what kind of care your parent may need.
If you want to be ready for the responsibility, here are a few tips on how to prepare for taking care of an aging parent.
Aging parents cannot help it if they feel like they are becoming a burden as they grow old. It is natural for them to think this way since they are used to being in control. Senior citizens sometimes feel like they are losing their independence, and this can be scary for them.
The best way to ease their fears is by maintaining an open line of communication. Talk to them about their concerns and let them know you are there for them. Reassure them that you will do everything you can to ensure they are comfortable and taken care of.
It is also essential to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care. This includes whether or not they want to be resuscitated or hooked up to a ventilator if their health deteriorates. It can be a complex topic to discuss, but it’s essential to know their wishes so you can make sure they get followed.
Make a Plan
Once you have established communication, it’s time to start making a plan. This should be a joint effort between you and your parent so that they feel like they are still involved in the decision-making process.
The first step is to assess their needs. This includes figuring out what kind of assistance they need with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. It also includes identifying any health conditions that need to get managed.
After you have a good understanding of their needs, you can start putting together a care plan. This will involve deciding who will provide which type of care, whether medical, personal, or financial. You will also need to set a budget and make arrangements for insurance and Medicare.
It’s essential to have a backup plan in place in case something happens to the primary caregiver. This could be a relative or friend willing to step in if needed.
Create a Support System
Caring for an aging parent can be overwhelming, so creating a support system is essential. This includes family members, friends, and even professional caregivers.
You can start by contacting family and friends who live nearby. Let them know what you’re going through, and ask for help when needed. These people can provide respite care so you can take a break from your caregiver duties.
It would help if you also considered hiring professional caregivers, such as a home health aide or nurse. These caregivers can provide the hands-on care your parent needs, freeing up your time to care for other things.
Make sure to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. This is a demanding role, so taking time for yourself is essential. Consider joining a support group or seeing a therapist to help you deal with the stress.
Seeking Assisted Living Services
If your parent is starting to need more help than you can provide, it may be time to seek assisted living services. This type of facility offers a safe and supportive environment for seniors who need help with activities of daily living.
Assisted living differs in its offerings, so choosing one that meets your parent’s needs is essential. For example, some facilities provide Memory Care services for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
You can go ahead and tour the facility and meet the staff when considering an assisted living facility. You should also ask about the admission process and what type of care is covered by insurance.
Deciding to move your parent into an assisted living facility is never easy. However, it may be the best decision for both of you. By researching and choosing a facility that meets your parent’s needs, you can ensure they receive the care and support they need.
Taking care of an aging parent can be difficult, but being prepared is essential. By communicating with your parent, making a plan, and creating a support system, you can ensure that both of you are ready for this new chapter in your lives.