It’s immensely difficult to take the role of a caregiver in the life of your aging parents. Your parents feel helpless, your relationship changes and it also affects your mental health. It’s known that 40-70% of family caregivers show signs of clinical depression.
So, to ensure you take proper care of your parents and don’t burn yourself out, follow these steps.
1. Understand the needs of your parents
Don’t rush into caring for your parents without understanding their situation and needs. Otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed.
To know how much support your parents need, identify which of the following are their greatest challenges, which of them are already resolved, and which they need more help with:
- Medical needs
- Cognitive health
- Home Safety
- Personal hygiene
- Food preparation
- Social interactions
Note these with their respective support and solutions in a journal. This helps you stay on track with their needs, and you won’t overlook any important factor.
You can arrange help or give them a hand whenever required for every little aid they need. You won’t put yourself through enormous pressure to remember every little detail.
2. Prioritize home safety steps
Your aging and sick parents are at a high risk of accidentally hurting themselves. So, consider a few installments at wherever they’ll live in the long run:
- Always ensure no clutter, cords, or even rugs on the floor.
- Install railings for all stairs and grab bars in the bathroom.
- Make sure all lights and switches are working properly in every room.
- Check whether all appliances work smoothly.
- Avoid situations that make your parents bend down or use step ladders.
3. Know your abilities and needs better
Not every filial child can care for their parent whenever necessary. So, before you assume that you can take all of their responsibilities, answer these questions:
- Do you live close to your parents – enough to make regular visits?
- Can you live in their house or ask them to stay with you?
- Are you healthy enough to physically care for others?
- Are you open to learning new ways to care for them appropriately?
If you answered no to more than two questions, your parents won’t receive the necessary care. If you force yourself to still care for them, you’ll burn out, and they’ll feel like a burden on your life.
4. If you’re the primary caregiver, take some break
If you can move in with your parents or vice versa, you might push yourself too deep into the caregiving role. It’s normal to forget to take breaks, but that only burns you out further.
So, don’t force yourself to do everything alone. Instead, get help from family members. Don’t wait for others to help you. Instead, schedule a meeting and share some responsibilities with everyone. However, ensure you don’t micromanage them.
If you need sudden help or none of your relatives want to support you, seek professional help, i.e., respite care.
Seek a trustworthy nursing recruitment agency that provides daily, weekly, or overnight care and support with an experienced team.
5. Estimate all costs to manage it better
Consider overall expenses for their care. Some costs are:
- Medical care
- Assistance in living
- The expense of moving in
- Food, supplies, and home modifications
If you and your family can cover these expenses, that’s great. If not, you must seek financial assistance from government programs for the elderly. You can also seek financial planners to get a clearer picture of how everything needs to be done.
6. Involve your parents in the entire process
Your aging parents are already frustrated with losing control over their lives. They’ll feel that you believe they’re an invalid if you don’t include them throughout the process. So, include them in the process as much as possible.
Of course, they’ll resist some much-needed decisions about it. They may avoid conversations, especially if the expenses are high. Don’t force a sudden change on them in these situations – unless they’re in critical condition.
Help them embrace all sorts of support and care gradually. Be slow, but get them everything necessary in time.
7. Keep them connected with everyone
If your parents are alone most of the time, make sure they have an easy-to-use and accessible phone on them at all times. Add your and some reliable people’s contact numbers on the speed dial. So, if any emergency arises, they can at least reach out.
Moreover, isolation may lead to loneliness and other mental health concerns. So, add your parents’ most close friends and family contacts.
Besides that, give everyone a heads-up that they must also call your parents whenever possible. This way, your parents won’t feel that they’re intruding on others’ time with the calls.
Follow the abovementioned steps, and you can easily navigate this tough situation. Lastly, don’t forget to confide in someone when you feel overwhelmed. Let it out, and you’ll do great!