Home Care – Decisions for an Elderly Parent
None of us wants to think of the day when an elderly parent or both of our parents will be too old to take care of themselves on their own.
At this point in time, decisions need to be made, and none of them are easy. Some children of elderly parents decide to bring them into their own home, but making such a decision requires a lot of thought, planning, and considerations, not only of the elderly parent, but of other family members.
Remember that the decision for at home care of an elderly parent in your own home will involve every aspect of your personal life, and will affect a spouse, children, friends, the elderly parent and his or her friends as well.
A number of factors need to be considered before deciding about at home care for an elderly parent. Some of these considerations include but are not limited to:
These are just a few of the many factors that involve at home care for an elderly parent. It is paramount that children or immediate family members who decide to care for an elderly parent at home make sure that the home or apartment is as senior-friendly as possible. Fall prevention is an extremely important aspect of care at home. This may involve moving furniture, redecorating, and reorganizing a home.
In addition, maintaining a medication schedule as well as ensuring that medications are always available will be a major responsibility that many children of aging parents don't consider. The time involved in running errands to the drug store, purchasing supplies, and making sure a parent gets to all medical appointments can be overwhelming if not planned carefully. Whenever possible, such duties should be shared by other family members.
Individuals providing at home care for an elderly parent often don't realize the time and effort involved in making sure the parent enjoys adequate hygiene, which may include helping that parent bathe or shower, installing grab bars, and otherwise fall-proofing bathrooms in the home. Fall prevention cannot be overstressed.
Medical equipment such as grab bars, walkers, and even special beds or medical equipment to monitor the health and well-being of an elderly parent may involve excess cost and financial burdens that are often not covered by medical insurance policies.
If a parent's health or physical abilities decline, caregivers must often provide attentive toileting and hygiene schedules for chair bound or bed bound individuals. Preventing bedsores, ensuring adequate toileting, as well as the physical stress of providing such care is often overwhelming to children of elderly parents.
Boredom is one of the major causes of depression and apathy in seniors. In order to ensure the mental well-being of an elderly parent, children and caregivers must make special efforts to provide activities or outings that keep elderly parents engaged in social skills, interactions, and thinking processes to help prevent depression and a decline in overall health and well-being.
Take into consideration the time that may be required to spend with an elderly parent every day in order to provide for such needs. Many individuals are hesitant to place parents in a nursing home or long-term care facility because they are concerned the parent will sit in a chair all day staring out the window. However, many children who are providing care for elderly parents end up creating the same scenario because of other obligations and responsibilities.
Wanting to provide care for an aging parent is natural. However, children of aging parents as well as caregivers should always place the needs and safety of an elderly parent above their own.
In many situations, an elderly individual will be better cared for in a long-term care facility. However, every individual facing the situation should take the time to weigh the pros and cons of providing elderly parents at home care before making a momentous decision that will affect the parent, immediate family members and friends forever.