Caring for an Elderly Parent: A Guide

Through our lives, our parents are there to care for us and ensure we stay safe. Even as adults, we often get so used to having them around that we think of them as a kind of safety net. For many people, however, our parents reach a stage in life there the roles need to be reversed. Whether they need help with mobility, financial matters, taking medication, staying active and social, or just someone to chat to, we need to ensure they can enjoy a high quality of life for as long as possible. In some cases, this might involve inviting them to live with you or finding them a residential care home. This guide takes you through the key considerations you should keep in mind when deciding whether to provide medical home care for an elderly parent yourself in your home.

Be realistic about your capabilities

You need to give serious consideration as to whether you have the time, resource, physical fitness, and emotional resilience to provide your parent with the care they need, and if living with you is in their best interests. For example, if they have complex medical needs, they may be better off staying in a residential home where medical professionals are on staff. If you and others in the home are usually out at work and school, you may not be able to provide the care or companionship they need. In some cases, it is more appropriate for them to move into a senior living Buffalo Grove facility.

Should you decide to go ahead and bring your elderly parent into your home, be sure to schedule in time for self-care and give yourself a break or vacation every now and again.

Ask for help when you need it

It would be better for you if you didn’t try to take on too much, as this is not helpful for you or your parent. You need to ensure you remain mentally balanced and physically healthy so that you can provide the best care, so ask friends, family, and neighbors for help when you are struggling to cover all the bases. They might be able to get groceries for you, provide transport to medical appointments, help with housework, visit with your parent when you cannot be home.

There are also lots of community services out there which can provide transport, meal deliveries, and more, so be sure to investigate your options.

Learn about any disabilities and medical conditions

Your elderly parent may be relatively healthy now, but if they develop medical conditions or disabilities at any point you should try to learn as much as you can. This will help you to provide the best care possible and prepare you for future symptoms or complications that could arise. It is essential to learn how to communicate with relevant medical professionals, i.e. to take notes during appointments, to ask the right questions, and learn how to administer medication.

Consider their legal matters

Working with them, it is wise to go through your parent’s legal matters and ensure you know where relevant paperwork is stored. This might include their will, bank accounts, social security number, property deeds, power of attorney, insurance documents, birth certificate, and medical documents such as a Do Not Resuscitate order. All should be stored securely so that they can be accessed in the event of an emergency.