What to do when your mom/dad needs care

by Jenn

Intro: When a parent starts to age and falls into the category of needing care, it can be hard to know what your next steps should be. Whether you’re taking on this responsibility for the first time or have done so in the past, many things need to happen before you can help them live comfortably at home. Here are some ways you can make their transition go more smoothly:     

  1. Anchor: When you’re trying to figure out the best way to help your parents transition into their new living situations, make sure you sit down with them and talk about it instead of making decisions for them. If you need some help figuring out how to handle the situation, reach out to a professional. A parent who needs help with personal care is not an easy transition for anyone to make, even if it’s long overdue. Be careful not to take this responsibility too fast or without thinking of the implications. Even if your mother or father has been sick for a long time, you should still be sure that they are ready to make this change.
  1. Have a plan (and backup plans): When your parents are no longer able to care for themselves, several issues will need to be solved quickly—not having an organized system or plan can lead to frustration and even mistakes on the part of those who are trying their best to help. Make sure everyone is on the same page before making anything official with the home health agency or nursing facility they will live at. It’s also essential that you have all of the necessary information ahead of time so that there aren’t any unnecessary hiccups along the way.
  2. Find out what your parent’s needs are: Before you can start providing care, you need to know precisely what kind of assistance they need. Do they need help bathing and dressing every morning? If so, you’ll likely want an agency that provides two-on-one care. Or do they only need assistance with transportation services, like driving them to doctor’s appointments or taking them out for lunch during the week? Transportation assistance is one thing many families choose to provide themselves to save money. If this sounds like something your parents would benefit from, make sure you read our last blog post on getting started as a transportation assistant. 
  1. Please make a list of all medications: Your parents will likely be on multiple medications and require assistance with taking them! List every pill and dosage they’re required to take and ask what time the person should take each medication – some need to be taken at different times than others.
  2. Figure out the best way to provide Care: After determining their needs, it’s time to decide how to fulfill those needs. Do they need help on shoulder-season days when it’s cold and snowy but otherwise would like to live as independently as possible? Perhaps your parents can do most things on their own during shoulder seasons but need more support through the winter months due to intense snow and ice. In this case, a good option for you and your family might be a sliding-scale home care agency.
  3. Consider moving your parents into an assisted living facility or nursing homes for seniors where they can get around-the-clock care. They can also help transfer your parents into an adult day care centre, where they will get the care and companionship they need. Around-the-clock care is necessary when you have strict or odd working hours and may not be present for your parents’ service when they need you. In such cases, you can opt for a home care service but make sure your choice of caregiver is reliable and trustworthy. Another option is to hire a part-time caregiver who can visit your parents on weekends and maybe even some weekdays if they need it. This way, your parents will get the care they need while still being at home. 
  1. Find the right home care aides: After you’ve determined what insurance will cover, the next step is to decide who will be best suited for your parents. Do they have friends or family members that are willing to provide this service? Or would they prefer an agency to send out caregivers daily? Whichever you choose, make sure to interview them and ask for references. Check out online reviews and be sure the aides have valid licenses.
  2. Determine if your parent qualifies for any benefits: You may not know this, but many government-funded programs could help ease the financial burden of paying for care. Some examples include home -heating assistance, prescription drug assistance, and the “free” ride program.
  3. If it’s not possible to move your parent into an assisted living facility due to their health/physical limitations or because they refuse the idea altogether, then make sure that you are checking up on them frequently (every day) so that they don’t needlessly fall ill because of neglectful behavior like forgetting to take medicine or change clothes often enough. Tell neighbors you’re caring for your parent(s) and that you will be checking in occasionally; ask them to check on the house if they see something suspicious.
  1. Spend one-on-one time with them doing activities they enjoy, like going to lunch or watching TV together: Making sure they have one-on-one time with you can help them know that even though another person is helping them, you’re still their number one. Spending time also allows you to figure out your parents’ needs and requirements on different levels. You notice them struggling to remember where they keep their things. For example, what do they need to get around the house, and where does it go? It may help them stay in their home longer.

Conclusion: it’s your turn to take care and provide for your parents and seniors that deserve your love and affection. Make sure you stand up to the challenge to provide the best senior care services to your parents.

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