There are myriad reasons why adult children choose to care for their elderly parents on their own rather than opting for nursing home care or retirement home placement. Whatever reason has led you to care for your senior parent on your own, odds are that you’ve quickly figured out that it can feel like its own full-time job.
It is possible to give your elderly parent the care that he or she deserves without completely sacrificing your own life. Here are three essential tips for caring for an elderly parent.
1. Understand Their Financial Situation Inside and Out
No two seniors’ financial situations are identical. Some seniors are completely at the mercy of social security and other entitlement programs, while others have pensions or retirement funds to fall back on. When you embark on this journey, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your elderly parent’s financial situation. Sit down and create a monthly budget that will keep them financially stable. If you’re planning on paying yourself a caregiver’s salary, be sure that your siblings are fine with it.
2. Take Care Of Yourself
Caring for an elderly person can be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re doing it on your own. You have to wear many hats, from nurse to chef to maid. This is why it’s important to take the time to care care of yourself. Wanting to be selfless is an admirable goal, but if you’re always caring for your parent and never stopping to take time to care for you and your own needs, you’ll eventually burn out and might even start to resent your parent.
3. Reach Out For Help When Needed
It’s important to know when to reach out for help, be it from a sibling or a professional. For example, if preparing your elderly parent’s meals is becoming too big of a task for you to handle on your own, it might be time to recruit the help of a sibling or a service that provides meals to the elderly. Don’t feel like you have to play the role of superhero. There’s no shame in occasionally admitting that a task has gotten too big for one person and outsourcing some of the work.
Caring for an elderly parent can be stressful, but it will also be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. There’s a great satisfaction in knowing that your beloved parent is in their home with family, instead of in a facility where they might begin to feel isolated or alone. If you follow these tips, you can be a suitable and competent caregiver for your elderly parent.