There is nothing better than making sure your parents are living the lives they want as they grow older. Caring for a parent at home means more than just physical care; there are emotional, mental as well as the physical well-being factors to consider.
Luxe Care provides you with some tips to help you support your older parent to remain at home.
1. Keep an eye out for subtle changes and work out what is needed
This may include noticing that the house is due for a good spring clean, your parents don’t like driving at night, are becoming less social. It may be time to offer some help but before you do this make sure you take the time to assess their needs. There may be things you can help with and things you can outsource.
Remember, you parents probably want to spend quality time with you rather than having you help with care and endless jobs.
2. Keep moving
As they say, move it or lose it. One of the main reasons people move in to an aged care home is that they need full assistance with lifting and moving. By staying active as long as possible, your parents may be able to cope better as they age.
Look for enjoyable activities that you can do together, like going for walks or working in the garden. Consider gentle, joint-friendly activities such as swimming, stationary cycling, or light yoga.
Even with severe mobility restrictions we have found that people can benefit greatly through passive range of motion exercises. These are best delivered under professional supervision.
3. They call the shots
We all want to make up our own minds, that includes your parents. Keep them involved in their care decisions as much as possible. When people think others are making all their choices for them, they may be more resistant to receiving help. Make sure you include them in all conversations and decisions about their care.
4. Safety first
Some easy things to help include installing safety equipment. Some ways to improve safety in the home can include monitoring alarms, grab rails, shower seats or elevated toilet seats, ramps or stair lifts, non-slip surfaces, improved lighting and anti-scalding devices on taps. Your GP, home care provider or hospital can help with this.
5. Stay social
Older people who spend time with friends stay physically, emotionally, and mentally healthier than those who don’t. If you can, find ways to help them continue to socialise with their friends and family. Sometimes it might even be using the phone or learning how to make video calls. It can be done!
6. Services to consider
Think about some of the activities your parents find hard to do. They may need anything from occasional help to constant support. If they are still able to do most things, you may only need some help with errands or household chores.
Sometimes it can become more difficult for them to manage day-to-day tasks like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. There are staff available who can help with all of these activities and more.
If they are having trouble with managing basic activities, such as feeding themselves, moving around the house, getting dressed, or taking care of their hygiene, it is a good idea to consider some personal care services.
7. More affordable than you think
Sometimes moving can help. Sometimes people prefer to stay in their family home.
For example, if they want to continue living at home but are struggling with day to day cashflow, you might think about helping them find a smaller place, a Retirement Village or serviced apartment that fits within their budget. It is always prudent to get good financial advice.
Private home based services can be a great way to provide just enough support to help people remain living at home. You can switch on and off depending on how much help your parent needs.
Your parents may also qualify for a government funded home care package; these services often have very long waiting periods and have means testing to determine how much you will pay.