If your parents have always been the solid foundation of the family, it can be hard to see them becoming frail. It usually doesn’t happen all at once and at first, you might not even notice. It might be small things such as expired milk in the fridge. You may notice that your mother isn’t keeping up with her regular haircuts the way she used to. Or your dad may have a dent in his car that he doesn’t recall getting.
At some point, you become more concerned about these little things that are starting to pile up. But how do you approach your parents – the ones who have always taken care of everyone else – and talk to them about having someone to help take care of them?
The stress can build up quickly for both you and your parents. And stress, especially coupled with a busy schedule, can make it difficult to be an effective caregiver for your elderly parents.
Determining your parents’ needs
You will find that a lot of the stress associated with caring for an elderly loved one can be resolved by having a clear and accurate view of what their needs really are. To do this, you should:
- Be positive
- Call on friends and family members who can help.
- Ask your parents to have a medical checkup.
- Get input from your parents on where they think they can use some extra help
Many seniors are able to remain in their own homes for a long time. Although, they might need someone to check in on them and give them gentle reminders to help ensure their safety. Checking in with a daily phone call or in-person visit may feel stressful at first, but this stress usually subsides once it becomes routine.
Optimize your time and ask for help when you need it
If you are running errands for your parents, try to make it easy on yourself by making multi-purpose trips. Buy their groceries at the same time you are buying yours. Or swing by the pharmacy to pick up their prescription on your way home from work.
Hire people to do the jobs that you don’t like or do not have time for. For example, you might want to hire someone to cut your parents’ grass or shovel the snow. Hiring a home care professional to be there when you can’t is also a great way to gain peace of mind.
And don’t be too hard on yourself when you need a break. Watching your parents decline can be emotionally draining. You may need to talk to a friend, a clergy person, or a counselor. Taking care of your own mental health is essential to be an effective caregiver.
If you need help caring for an elderly parent, Vera Home Care offers professional services and companionship. Contact us today to learn more.