When your parents enter into old age, you can find yourself in a sort of role reverse. Those who once cared for your every need as a child, are now in need of some care themselves. Caring for your elderly parents can be rewarding, but undoubtedly challenging.
But with many families refusing the option of a residential care home, it’s not uncommon to look after mum and dad to ensure they can stay at home. This can be a great way to keep your parents living independently around those they are familiar with.
However, there are a number of ways to ease the strain on the family. Learn how you can best help them with long term care, whilst also caring for your own physical and emotional needs, with our top three tips!
Ways to care for elderly parents (& yourself!)
1. Ask for help
- Family, friends & partners – Reach out to your loved ones if you are struggling to keep on top of things. Even just taking some small tasks, like doing the food shopping, can be a relief.
- Housekeepers & gardeners – Chores such as doing the dishes can distract you from spending time with your elderly parents. If you’re able to hire some help with these physically challenging tasks, you’ll be able to save your energy for your parents.
- Carers – If your elderly parent needs a lot of care for the day to day tasks such as dressing and washing, you may wish to get some help to come in a few times a week or more so that you are able to work and look after yourself. Once you’ve found a carer right for you, keep the communication strong between you to best help your parent.
2. Trust in technology
- Personal alarms – Sometimes caring for someone doesn’t mean you have to be present every second of the day. With a Careline Alarm you can relax whilst knowing someone is available to answer a distress call anytime your elderly parents need it.
- Key Safes – If you do have help from outside, such as a carer, a key safe may be useful for them to be able to access your elderly parent if they can’t come to the door. This can be helpful if they have had a fall or hurt themselves, and can even be used by the emergency services.
- Online communication – If you live a busy life, with a job and family, you would benefit from using technology to keep in touch with your elderly parents. Skype, can be great to actually see how they are doing, as well as checking that carers have turned up and done what was asked.
3. Care for yourself
- Health & wellness – It may seem impossible, but getting enough sleep, good food and exercise is vital to keeping yourself well. Your health will greatly affect your energy levels and your mental state. Keep your own health a priority and you’ll find you’re able to do more for your loved ones.
- Emotional time out – It’s normal to want to vent your frustrations and upset to someone who understands. If you can’t talk to friends and family there are support groups for carers. You can also ask your GP for help or find a counsellor you can talk to. Practicing meditation, or even just getting some peace and quiet to yourself can give you much needed time out; visit your local park and try to clear your mind.
- Financial stability – If your elderly parents are not able to fund their own care, you may find yourself out of pocket when trying to pay towards it. Contact your local council to see if your parents are able to receive any money towards these costs.
For more information on caring for elderly relatives visit our homepage where you can find out more about our personal alarm service.