Caring for your aging parents can be a difficult road. You might feel overwhelmed when trying to navigate your newly found role as caregiver. OHC would like to offer support to what might feel like a daunting responsibility. You don’t have to experience the same mistakes as others when caring for your aging parents:
Forget to Ask Others for Help
The Daily Caring editorial team has great advice when it comes to asking for help. They posted the following, “If you want help with certain tasks, specifically ask for them. Don’t assume that anyone can read your mind or will be able to pick up on hints or signals. For example, if you’re looking for someone to independently research ways to improve incontinence, let them know…. Or, perhaps you’d like to take every other Saturday off from visiting Mom and have them take over on those days…
When friends or loved ones don’t know much about what’s going on, they can feel excluded. That makes them less likely to help, even if they desire to. Solve this problem by writing down and sharing important information, such as: Usual daily routine, upcoming medical appointments, regular outings, special events, list of medications and supplements or any current problems or worries.” [i]
Make Rash Housing Decision for Your Parents
You might feel rushed in making important decisions concerning your loved one. Remember that taking a few weeks to really think through your plan will better serve you in the long term. Leah Newman offers this advice, “When emotions are running high due to an incident such as an illness or injury to your parents, it may be tempting to make rash decisions without thinking about the future, which can create a number of problems. You want to consider all the possibilities if there’s a chance that your parents will move in with you. If you don’t plan accordingly, this can cause extra stress and frustration in the future…
Don’t assume that your parents have to move in with you when they can no longer live on their own, as it’s not necessarily the best option. They may be better off retaining some independence in a senior-living community or assisted-living home, where they can attend regular social activities with their peers. Some may require skilled nursing care that can be best provided in a long-term facility; in some cases, these options may actually cost less than around-the-clock in-home care. [ii]
Stop Socializing with Your Friends
One of the most detrimental mistakes you can make, when caring for aging parents, is to forget about your need for personal friendships. You need your friends now more than ever before! Don’t forget to prioritize these relationships. “There are about 40 million people out there taking care of a loved one and yet they all feel like they’re completely alone. We’ve got a long way to go before every community has spaces designed specifically to bring older adults and their caregivers together the way schools and playgrounds bring parents together. But, sadly it won’t be that long until practically every family is in this situation — In fact, that day is coming sooner than most of us realize… In the meantime, the lack of natural connecting points in the community make it all too easy to become isolated. You may be feeling shut out but it’s SO important to keep the connections flowing: keep texting, keep calling, dropping by, and keep caring.” [iii]
[i] Daily Caring Editorial Team, Daily Caring, accessed 8 March 2019, < https://dailycaring.com/4-tips-get-family-to-help-with-elderly-parents/>.
[ii] Leah Newman, 2015, Philips Lifeline, accessed 8 March 2019, <https://www.lifeline.philips.com/resources/blog/2015/01/caring-for-your-aging-parents-5-common-mistakes-to-avoid.html>.
[iii] Anne Tumlinson, Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, accessed 8 March 2019, < https://thewomensalzheimersmovement.org/whatcaregiverswantfriendstoknow/>.