Caring for elderly loved ones is a demanding task. Still, when that responsibility increases to include an elderly parent or other family members with mental illness, it can become incredibly challenging. Mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can severely impair cognitive functions and cause people to forget basic information or everyday tasks that they used to be able to do quickly.
It may seem overwhelming if you find yourself tasked with caring for a mentally ill parent. Thankfully, many approaches are available to assist you in taking care of your elderly parent while still giving them the support they need. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some helpful tips on how to take care of an elderly parent who has a mental illness while also tending to your own needs as a caregiver.
1. Consider Retirement Communities
Retirement communities are an excellent option for elderly parents with mental illness. These communities provide a safe and secure environment while also providing access to the type of medical care and resources needed to treat dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The staff at these communities are also experienced in handling cases such as this, and they can provide invaluable advice and support to the elderly parent and their caregiver. Riverview Retirement Community, for example, provides specialized programs and services tailored to the needs of dementia patients. Retiring community staff can provide medical care and emotional support to help them manage their condition.
2. Utilize Resources for Caregivers
Caring for someone with a mental illness can be emotionally and physically demanding. It is essential to take care of yourself as you care for your loved one. Many resources available can provide support, advice, and guidance for caregivers, such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can also reach out to organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association or The Family Caregiver Alliance, which offer advice on caring for someone with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of mental illness.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Caring for your elderly parent with a mental illness can be stressful, so setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself is crucial. Set achievable goals that are both manageable and beneficial for your elderly parent, such as cleaning their home once a week or helping them with an errand.
It is also essential to make sure that you are not overextending yourself. Make sure you take breaks when necessary and do something enjoyable, such as spending time with friends or walking.
4. Maintain Communication
It can be challenging to communicate with someone who has a mental illness, but it is vital to stay connected with your elderly parent. Make an effort to connect regularly to maintain a sense of normalcy. Keep the lines of communication open, ask how they are doing, and listen when they need someone to talk to. By making small, achievable goals, utilizing resources for caregivers, and maintaining communication with your elderly parent, you can provide the care they need while also taking care of yourself.
5. Develop a Care Plan
It is crucial to create a care plan for your loved one to ensure their needs are met. This plan should include detailed information about their medical condition and current medications, as well as any special arrangements that need to be made for them to receive the care they need. The plan should also detail how you will care for your elderly parents, such as what tasks you will take on and which ones you will delegate to other family members or professional caregivers. This plan will help ensure that your elderly parent receives the best possible care and will also make it easier for you to handle any changes or issues that arise.
Caring for an elderly parent with a mental illness can be challenging, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many resources available to caregivers can help provide advice, guidance, and support as you care for your loved one. By utilizing these resources and setting realistic goals, you can ensure that your elderly parent receives the best care.