Perhaps you’ve noticed that your mom or dad seems to be struggling with tasks that they once easily accomplished. Day-to-day activities seem to play them out more quickly than usual. It isn’t uncommon for aging parents to need assistance with activities that require more strength or stamina than they’re able to muster. For some older adults, it can be tough to admit their increasing need for help.
Eventually, many families realize that their aging parents are no longer safe or comfortable living alone. When that happens, families must make the difficult decision of how best to ensure their parents receive the care and assistance they need. While some families can bring their aging parents to live with them, others are unable or ill-equipped to handle their parent’s needs. And while some seniors may be glad to move in with their adult children, others may view this as a loss of independence.
Deciding whether you’re able to care for your parents at home or if they require more assistance than you can provide can be a hard decision. Several factors must be considered when making this choice.
Type of Care
First, consider the type of care needed and specific things that must be tended to each day. Aging adults may need help with activities such as eating and bathing, going to the bathroom, and other self-care tasks. Others may require assistance with walking or rolling over in bed. These are often referred to as Activities of Daily Living or ADLs. When evaluating what kind of help is needed, it may help write down those ADLs where assistance is currently being given and those where assistance may be necessary in the future. Seniors may also need help managing finances, making health care decisions with their doctors, maintaining their home, running errands, shopping, or communicating with family on the phone or computer. These types of activities are often referred to as instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and are also essential to consider when planning for care in the home.
Those looking to keep mom or dad at home with them must consider the resources available to them. Caregivers need to have a realistic idea of how much care will be necessary and determine if, or how, they can provide for those needs.
There will often be times the caregiver needs to seek help from family or professionals. The caregiver may ask others to help with meals or caring for the parent for a few hours while the caregiver takes a break. If the aging parent has medical needs in the home, a home health aid or nurse may be able to assist. Caring for an aging adult is a full-time commitment, but it should not be carried alone. The health and wellness of the one providing the care is essential.
Caring for a loved one can strain finances, but there are ways to alleviate some of that burden. There are options for government assistance, reducing the cost of prescription drugs, using Medicaid, or getting paid to be the family caregiver. It is wise to make a financial plan for the aging parent’s care in advance, so there are no unexpected changes due to a lack of funds.
Caring for one’s aging parents at home can be extremely rewarding, but it’s vital to understand that not everyone will have that option. The needs of both the parent and the caregiver must be assessed, and the physical and financial resources of the caregiver must be evaluated before making this choice.