As years go by, you can see that your parents are finding it more difficult to take care of themselves. This means that, at some point, you’ll have to step in and offer your help. However, this may prove to be more complicated than you expect. First of all, how do you know when to step in in the first place? Second, how do you offer help? What exactly do you do to help them? Here are some challenges of caring for your elderly parents and some advice on dealing with these challenges.
Dealing with finances
One of the things that you need to address as your parents get older is their capability of managing their own finances and making important financial and legal decisions. If they need help with this, it might be a smart idea to ask them for power of attorney, so that you can make not only financial, but also health-related decisions for them. It would also mean that you’d be free to cover any of their medical costs with their own resources. And even though most people have a financial plan for their own retirement, not many of us have planned what we’d do if our parents need us to fund them one day. This is why it’s essential to talk to your parents and find out if they made their own retirement plan and how well they’re provided for. Once you have all the information, you’ll know if you’ll need to chip in and in what amount, so that you can start saving if necessary.
Deciding on where they’ll live
If your parents can’t cook, clean the house or even deal with their own hygiene any more, it means that they need somebody to do these things for them. There are several options here. If you decide to be their caregiver, you have to find the best living arrangement for all of you. You can either move in with them, or have them move in with you and your family. Another option is to find them a nice and vibrant community to live in. When choosing between being your parents’ caregiver and aged care, take into account your daily schedule. There’s no point in moving your parents into your own home if you’re at work most of the day and you can’t be of any assistance to them. This is especially important if your parents require individualized dementia care, meaning that they need a place where they’ll feel safe and relaxed, with qualified, dynamic and thoughtful support staff at their disposal. In that case, it’s always better to find a good place for them with reliable personnel, so that you know they’re in good hands all of the time.
Balancing between your parents and your family
Taking care of your family is something that comes naturally to you, something you’re used to. However, if you add your parents to this equation, you may find yourself in a very difficult situation. Juggling between your children and your parents can be very exhausting and will definitely require a strict schedule, one which will cover all of your children’s school and extracurricular activities, as well as your parents’ appointments, exact times when they have to take their medicines and any social calls they might have. If at any point you start feeling you’ve got too much on your hands, you should ask for help. Talk to your siblings or some of your closest friends and see if they can replace you when you need some time for self-care or simply to take some rest. You can also consider hiring a part-time licensed caregiver. Furthermore, you can assign some age-appropriate chores to your kids. They will learn a thing or two about responsibility, they’ll connect with their grandparents and they will make things easier on you by helping.
It can be physically, emotionally and financially difficult to take care of your elderly parents. This is why it’s important that you prepare them and yourself for it. Make sure you talk openly about everything and that you’re always on the same page when it comes to what’s best for them.