Aging is an inevitable part of life. As parents grow older, their adult children are often faced with difficult decisions. One of the questions they’ll often ask is: “Do my parents need assisted living services or can I continue to take care of them?”
Regardless of the answer, one thing is certain: Nobody wants to leave the comfort and familiarity of home to go live in a retirement facility. Fortunately, there are existing services — like Family Matters — that can help you care for your elderly parents at home.
However, there are also plenty of steps that you can take today to reduce the burden of care, all while helping your parents to live a fuller life. Have you ever wondered, “How can I help my elderly parent stay at home?” If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 3 strategies that you can use.
Determine the Amount of Care Needed
We understand how difficult it is to be a caregiver. Oftentimes, people have to suddenly assume this role without a lot of warning. If the right steps aren’t taken to manage this new workload, it can quickly become overwhelming.
The first step to take is to create a documented list of daily tasks. It can be hard to make plans for an elderly parent. Before long, you might find that you’re missing important tasks here or there and feel like you have to scramble to catch up.
Creating a list of daily, weekly, and monthly care tasks will keep you from being taken by surprise. Write your care tasks and schedule on a whiteboard or a calendar. This will allow you to tick off each item throughout the day as it is completed.
Ultimately, it is up to the caregiver to decide when the workload is simply too much to handle. A clear understanding of the amount of care that will be needed to keep your parent healthy and at home will let you stay on top of things without becoming overwhelmed.
Know Your Boundaries
Caregiving is an incredibly stressful activity. In fact, researchers have found that caregivers have 23% more stress hormones in their bodies than non-caregivers do. That kind of stress can quickly take its toll.
When taking care of an elderly parent becomes too much for a caregiver to handle, the parent is often the one who suffers the consequences. They may be sent to an assisted living facility, or in severe cases, they may even be neglected.
Of course, it’s always better to address problems that arise before they become overwhelming. After you’ve determined how much care is needed for your parent to remain at home, you need to determine how much of that care you can realistically handle. Always assume that you can do less than you think — this will allow you to maintain enough margin to keep from getting overwhelmed.
It is perfectly normal and acceptable to need help to care for your aging parent. If you have other family members who live close by, see if they can help you one or two days out of the week. If you don’t have additional family members nearby, consider utilizing an in-home care service to take those extra responsibilities off of your shoulders.
Manage the Financial Burden
92% of family caregivers also provide financial support to their wards. Financial burdens can be particularly heavy to bear. Medical visits, hospital bills, and routine tests can quickly add up.
Additionally, there are a whole host of other financial considerations involved in being a caregiver. Things like supplies, food, and even lost wages need to be considered.
Once you’ve accurately determined the costs that will be involved in keeping your elderly parent at home, you can seek financial assistance. You’re likely already familiar with Medicare and its benefits. However, there are additional — and more unconventional — methods to reduce the financial burden of caregiving.
Check to see if there are local lending programs offered by non-profit organizations that may be able to help with some of the medical bills. Mutual aid programs offer great financial assistance options to families who don’t have insurance. There are also substantial senior discounts that might be available for supplies and groceries. Lastly, the IRS offers free tax help for the elderly, and you may be eligible for significant tax reductions as a caregiver.
How Can I Help My Elderly Parent Stay at Home?
To recap, here are the three basic steps that you can take to keep your elderly parents at home:
- Understand the amount of care they need
- Know your own boundaries for what you can provide
- Find creative solutions to manage financial burdens
By understanding the overall load of caregiving, you will be in a much better position to maintain the level of care that your elderly parents deserve.
If possible, communicate these findings to your parents, which is a great way to incorporate their input into your strategy. You never know what ideas they may have stored away.
Lastly, we want to remind you that you are never alone. At Family Matters, we provide unparalleled in-home care services for you and your loved ones. Hundreds of families use our services so that they can lighten the burden of caregiving. Give us a call now to learn how we can help your family.
Other Helpful Aging in Place Resources
- Stair Climbing for Seniors: How to Make Stairs Safer for Elderly Aging in Place
- Useful Technology for Elderly Seniors Living Alone & Aging in Place
- 5 Common Barriers to Aging in Place
- Common Mobility Aids for Seniors Aging in Place
- Why is Aging in Place Important?
- Preventing Falls with Aging in Place Home Modifications
- 10 Useful Smartphone Apps for Seniors Aging in Place
- How to Help Aging Parents Stay in Their Home
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.