It’s never easy to watch a loved one’s health decline, especially when it’s a parent. While you might need time to absorb that their health is declining, you may also feel pressure to act quickly to provide the right level of care for their needs. To do so, you’ll need to identify their needs, understand the different options available, and make the right decision for their health and safety. Read the four steps to take to support an aging parent.
Assess Your Parent’s Everyday Needs
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, as you might not be sure what you need to do to effectively care for your Mom or Dad. You must, therefore, think about your parent’s every day needs to identify the best way to support them. For example, will they need help with:
- Cognitive health
- Home safety
- Personal hygiene
- Meal preparation
- Social interaction
You must then identify how much support they are currently receiving with all the above, and if their needs will change over time. For example, if your aging father lives on the opposite end of the country, with no family support, and is living with a serious health condition, you might need to hire an at-home caregiver and set-up meal delivery services.
Understand Your Own Needs
While you might love your Mom or Dad with all your heart, you might not necessarily be the best person to provide their care. For example, if you also have a health condition, you might be unable to offer the level of care they need to enjoy a greater quality of life. Also, if you live too far away, you might not be able to attend to their needs quickly. It’s important to stop and assess your own circumstances, so you can find the best solution for your parent.
Review Your Parent’s Home Safety
Your parent does not necessarily need a caregiver or nursing home once their health declines. You simply might need to review their home safety to prevent them from tripping, falling, or hurting themselves within the home. By doing so, you could help them to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
For example, you must ensure all floors and walkways are free from clutter to prevent trip hazards, and you could install grab bars by their bedside, toilet, bathtub, and staircase. It’s also wise to contact Helpline for effective care alarms and panic buttons, so your loved one can receive immediate help 24 hours per day.
Research has found that people who socialize often live longer. If you want to ensure your Mom or Dad doesn’t experience isolation and loneliness, you must ensure they communicate with people daily. Make sure they have easy access to a telephone, so they can call you or a friend up for a chat. You could also pre-program numbers into a cell phone, so they will not need to remember numbers to make a call.