Looking after an ageing parent, relative or friend can be a struggle whether they’re in a nursing home or are being cared for at home but it can also be the most loving and supportive way to give back to a parent, especially if they did so much for you as a child. I have a number of friends going through this at the moment and I’ve seen it first hand myself and it can be demanding, both physically and emotionally. Before you make the decision, you should be aware of the challenges of looking after ageing parents and some top tips to care for both them and yourself properly.
CONSIDER HOW MUCH CARE YOU CAN GIVE
Balancing a career, your family, and caring for your ageing parents can be extremely difficult. Before you make any commitment to helping them, you need to consider how much time you can regularly give to looking after your elderly loved one without putting too much strain on your lifestyle.
Not only this, but you need to take into account any special needs or requirements that your loved one has, such as particular health conditions that need more demanding care routines. This will allow you to decide on whether caring for them yourself is the best option.
INVEST IN HOME EQUIPMENT
Investing in equipment for your loved one’s home can make caring for them easier by increasing their mobility and improving their safety. This will minimise the risk of accidents and falls when you are not with them and allow them to live independently within their own home without the need to move.
You should consider investing in used stair lifts for the home as this will help you to provide the right care and equipment for your parents on a budget.
ARRANGE A CARE TIMETABLE
It can be difficult to take on the responsibilities of caring for your loved one by yourself. One of the best ways to check that your parent gets care without putting the pressure on yourself is to arrange a timetable with your relatives. This will enable you to split the care of your relative between more than one person, ensuring that your loved one gets 24/7 help while still allowing you to focus on other commitments.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Caring for a loved one can put a major strain on your health and wellbeing, particularly on your mental health. To ensure that you can maintain good mental health, you should take time for yourself, and arrange days off where you can unwind from the stress of everyday life. If you are struggling, you should book an appointment with your GP or seek the aid of a licensed counsellor.
EASE THE STRAIN ON YOUR FINANCES
The last thing you want to be worrying about when taking care of an elderly parent, relative or friend is money. Looking after your parents can put pressure on your finances, especially if you have to give up or cut down on your work to care for them. It could be a good idea for you to have a look at the financial help that is available to ease the strain when becoming a carer, including potential Carer’s Allowance, which you can be eligible for if you look after your parents for over 35 hours a week.
DISCUSS OPTIONS WITH YOUR PARENTS
Getting older can be distressing and frustrating for your parents, especially if they are unable to perform the activities that they once enjoyed or if they are worried about staying independent. Its so important to discuss the care options that are available to help them with them, if they’re of sound body and mind, so that they feel included, know that you have their best wishes at heart and are getting the best outcome for them.