Caring for Elderly Parents at Home: A Practical Guide

Caring for aging parents is a common situation many adult children face. As your parents grow older, their needs change. Declining health and mobility may make it difficult for them to live independently. However, most seniors wish to remain in their own homes as long as possible. With some planning and support, this often can be achieved.

Assessing Your Parents’ Needs

The first step is identifying what type of assistance your parents require. Their abilities and preferences should guide the care plan you create. Consider:

  • Physical abilities – Do they have difficulty with tasks like bathing, dressing, or meal preparation? Can they drive and get out of the home independently?
  • Medical needs – What health conditions do they have? Do they take multiple medications that need organizing?
  • Mental cognition – Are they alert and oriented? Or are there early signs of dementia?
  • Desires – What is most important to them? Do they enjoy socializing or prefer solitary activities?

Discuss these areas openly with your parents. Observe their daily functioning for a realistic view. Their doctor can provide an objective assessment of medical and cognitive status.

Explore Professional Care Options

You may not be able to meet all your parents’ needs alone. Seek assistance to ensure their well-being and your own sanity. home care Myrtle Beach SC services offer different levels of care.

In-Home Care Aides

A home health aide can visit a few times per week or daily to help with:

  • Personal care – bathing, grooming, dressing
  • Medication reminders
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Companionship activities

This type of assistance allows seniors to remain at home when they require some supervision and support.

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Skilled Nursing Care

For medical needs, a licensed nurse can provide wound care, injections, disease management, and monitoring. Physical or occupational therapists offer in-home rehabilitation services as well. Medicare and insurance may cover some skilled home healthcare costs if prescribed by a doctor.

Adult Day Programs

Adult day care centers provide social engagement and activities during the day. This allows the senior to still live at home while getting stimulation and companionship. The centers transportation to and from the facility as well.

Respite Care

Caring for an elderly parent full-time results in caregiver stress. Respite care offers short-term relief. A home care aide stays with your parent for a brief period – a few hours or a couple days – so you can take a break.

Safety Proofing the Home

Even with professional help, evaluate your parents’ home for safety. Simple modifications prevent falls and make daily tasks easier.

Remove Hazards

  • Clear clutter and trim rugs that could cause tripping
  • Install grab bars in bathrooms near toilets and showers
  • Use non-slip mats in the tub and shower
  • Improve lighting in entryways and staircases

Update the Bathroom

  • Add a walk-in or sit-down shower
  • Install a raised toilet seat with arm supports
  • Place a bath seat in the tub for bathing

Adapt the Kitchen

  • Place commonly used items within easy reach
  • Use rocker light switches and lever-style handles
  • Get an automatic stove shut-off device

These are just a few suggestions. An occupational therapist can complete a full home assessment.

Use Technology for Added Support

New monitoring technology also helps seniors remain independent while keeping their caregivers informed.

  • Medical alert systems allow the senior to call for help in an emergency.
  • Fall detection sensors alert family members if a fall is detected.
  • Video monitoring systems provide caregivers remote visual checks.
  • Medication reminder apps and dispensers manage medications.
  • Smart home devices like voice-controlled thermostats and lights increase safety and accessibility.

Self-Care for Caregivers

Make sure to care for your own physical and emotional health as well. Caregiver stress is common. Seek support from family, friends, or support groups for caregivers. Accept help from others – even if it’s just a grocery run or cleaning help. Pursue hobbies and make time for yourself. Your health impacts your ability to be an effective caregiver.

Caring for aging parents is meaningful but also challenging at times. With planning and support, you can keep your loved ones safe while preserving their independence and dignity. Reach out to home care services to create a care plan that fits your family’s specific situation.

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