There’s an amusing anecdote from Canadian humorist, Richard J. Needham, that goes, “For the first half of your life, people tell you what you should do; for the second half, they tell you what you should have done.” It’s funny, but it also rings true for people living with aging parents at home.
How many times have you caught yourself saying they should have done something in their youth, i.e., traveled more, invested better, took better care of themselves, that would’ve helped them in their old age? Taking care of your senior relatives at home is no walk in the park. However, when done properly, it can be rewarding to be with them in their twilight years.
Assess the Level of Care They Need
The level of care they would need depends on how independent they are and if they are suffering from health conditions. Naturally, the more serious they’re health conditions are, the more care they need. Physical illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions or physiological problems are easy enough to assess since there are outward signs of discomfort. And if they have mobility problems caused by their illnesses, it’s easy enough to make your home easier for them to navigate.
Mental illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s would mean they would need round-the-clock care. They may be physically able to move around unencumbered, but they could be in more danger because of their mental state. Still, there are some suggestions in professional circles that older adults suffering from these diseases are better off in familiar environments; places that they have lived in before they were diagnosed. if this is the case, consider hiring professional elderly live-in care specialists to help you take care of them.
Regardless of the level of care they need, it’s important to remember that you also have enough time for yourself. Otherwise, you could get burnt out quickly.
Ease Your Financial Burden
Taking care of your aging parents is a worthy endeavor, but it is, arguably, going to be heavy on your pockets. You have to make physical adjustments in your home, and if they’re seriously ill, there’s also the cost of special equipment, such as adjustable beds, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, etc. Not to mention regular doctor visits and the skyrocketing cost of medication. Fortunately, there are some government programs that you can tap into if you’re low on funds.
Alternatively, you could also look into your own insurance or health plans. Some providers allow you to name senior relatives as beneficiaries or dependents. When you claim them as such, you could significantly reduce the amount of money you’d have to shell out in order for them to get the highest quality of care.
Know Your Limits
It’s a bitter pill to swallow but there might come a time when you have to choose whether you can still care for your aging parents at home. Tight-knit families might have a harder time deciding if they should be put into care or nursing homes. However, you need to weigh your options. Living in a care home does not equate to abandonment. Picking the right one would mean your older relative will receive the utmost care and you will have more freedom to enjoy their final years together.