Please enable JavaScript to access this page. Homes And Families Counselling: Tips For Those Caring For Their Aging Parent

Tips For Those Caring For Their Aging Parent

While your parents probably would like to be able to take care of themselves independently, often children find themselves in a role-reversal as their parents age. They become the caregiver for Mom or Dad. It can be rewarding but also stressful because it takes time, patience and sometimes money. If you are facing a situation where your parent needs part-time or full-time help, here are some tips to help you make this easier on everyone.

First, do what you can to make independent living as easy as possible. Install safety features in the home, such as helpful bars around the bathtub and toilet areas. Replace a high bed with a lower one that is easier to navigate. Remove area rugs as people can easily get their foot caught on an edge and trip. Make sure that there are sturdy rails by stairs and that hallways and pathways are not cluttered and difficult to maneuver around. You can even replace front and back exterior stairs with ramps to make it all safe and more accessible. Also make sure there are night lights in all the rooms and hallways.

Take a look at the kitchen and re-arrange things so that all the pots, pans and dishes are easy to reach. Provide a microwave and toaster oven so that quick meals are easy to prepare. Keep the cupboards filled with canned goods and dry goods and fill the freezer with a variety of easy-to-prepare foods. See if there is a grocery store in the area that can deliver fresh items such as milk and produce every week. Buy pill organizers and place medications inside so that your parent won't have to remember if pills were taken or how much to take.

It's also wise to have a conversation with your parent about finances. At some point, you also will want to talk about wills, trusts and directives. It's good to know where information is kept in case of emergency, but if your parent seems to need or want some help with paying bills and managing a budget, you need to know the location of all of the pertinent information. If their budget permits, it might be nice to have some in-home care. This might include having someone come in and complete housekeeping chores once each week and perhaps assisting with shopping, grooming and dressing chores.

To find an in-home caregiver, it is easiest to find a screening service that identifies and researches various caregivers and companies to find the best ones in your area., for example, researches licensed in-home caregivers, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities and other eldercare options. They will take down a list of your current needs as well as how much you can afford and provide you with a list of candidates to consider.

After receiving a list of potential caregivers, it is time for the interviews. You and your parent should sit down and write out some questions. Ask them about references and qualifications and have them describe their previous clients and what services were provided to those clients. Be sure to have a written contract that lists all of the services that are included in the set monthly rates. Also ask about what happens if circumstances change, such as your parent needs more help or perhaps the caregiver is sick on a given day and a replacement needs to be found.

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